What to say…?

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  • #15468
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    A friend has just had a healthy baby who very unexpectedly has Down’s Syndrome. Is there anything in particular I should or should not say to her at this time? I want to congratulate her & sympathise at the same time, if you know what I mean. I don’t want to igore his birth or be ‘oh this is terrible’ or do the ‘oh it could be worse’ line. Any advice?

    I’m 28 weeks pregnant myself at the age of 41 & have spent many hours thinking about the condition, but I am none the wiser as to what I should say in this situation.

    #126099
    Jedt
    Member

    I think just be there for her. Take her cue about what she wants to talk about. She may want to talk and you can offer her a shoulder to lean on or she may not want to talk about it so just be there for her – as if you would have had baby not been born with downs syndrome. I would bring whatever gift you bought for the baby and maybe bring a cake with you when you go and you can have a slice over a cuppa and see what she wants to talk about.

    But remember you are 28 weeks pregnant so you need to be looking after yourself too and not getting too upset if possible.

    Its a tricky one, let us know how you get on.

    #126100
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    My friend found out at her 12 week scan that her daughter was going to be born with downs syndrome,so she had the rest of her pregnancy to get her head around the whole thing,she said she went through the stages of grief,thinking why us,etc……but she said that she was ready then when she gave birth but she said that she has since met women thatdidnt know until their child was born that they had downs & that it was a lot harder for them to deal with as they hadnt had the time to process the information.

    So I would say tread lightly & just let her talk & be there to listen.I would definitely congratulate her though as im sure a lot of people are offering sympathys which i think is inappropriate, as she has given birth to a live healthy child & that should be celebrated.

    #126104
    pookie2
    Member

    Yeah, my gut feeling is the same, ‘Congrats on your healthy baby’. I’m just not sure if I should leave it at that or mention the Down’s Syndrome at all….

    #126106
    Taylor5
    Member

    Just act as you would with any baby, I would just give the baby a kiss and a cuddle as you would any baby.
    I know a mum who had a downs baby, I grabbed him for a cuddle and i didnt want to give back, i told her he was just sooo beautiful (as he was) About 6 months ago she told me that i made her feel sooo happy, she said she knew i just wanted a kiss and a cuddle and i looked past the downs and seen a little baby, she told me she was able to relax and really look at her baby and see him for what he was, just a beautiful pretty and perfect baby.
    Be natural and let her express her feelings.
    I remember years ago being in the Glenside for lunch and oneof the girls said "oh i worked with that girl" I said are you not going over to have a look at that baby, she said "no, it has downs i dont know what to say" I will never forget looking back at the girl as she cried into her lunch!! I was 7 months pregnant at the time and this upset me so much. Never ignore someone over a death or a sick child, its not like they dont know their was a death, just say a kind work, it cant hurt as much as being ignored

    #126131
    happymumblemum
    Participant

    I agree with Taylor…

    Just act as you would if the baby didn’t have downs..judge the situation from there, ask intelligent questions and above all don’t ignore her.

    One of the many things that has hurt me the most since my dd died has been the ignoring..I have had it at the school gates and in work..most people in work didn’t even say "I’m sorry" ..I guess people just don’t know what to say…

    In this ladys case her baby hasn’t died but when things don’t go as planned it is always hard..

    #126137
    Jedt
    Member

    Lovely post Taylor – I feel the same way, a beautiful baby is a beautiful baby. I would hold and kiss and cuddle the baby as I would any other. They will have challenges along the way but its a celebration of a new life.

    Hopefully she is getting alot of support and encouragement at the moment and is happy and is over the shock.

    #126142
    MUMMY5
    Member

    I was in a similar situationmyself when my little girl was born and it turned out she had a medical condition which resulted in her having heart problems initially going on to have cerebral palsy. Other people may have seen a tough road ahead for me but when my baby was born she was my baby, loved and welcomed into the world and our family just the same as all our children were when they were born. I remember some people found it hard to know what to say but I think the most important thing for me was the people said something and acknowledged the birth of my baby and very importantly that if they would usually get me a card saying congratulations etc. that they still did this. I know I got less cards on her birth but I think people were unsure of the ‘right thing’ to do. All I wanted was a string of cards like on the birth of all my other children congratulating me. I was, of course, very upset and sad that my little girl was going to have so much ahead of her medically. I remember getting some of the usual gifts of baby clothes etc. and at the end of the day every baby needs to wear clothes and I loved getting presents of baby clothes.

    As for what to actually say for me personally I felt it was easier when people were honest and talked about what had happened. At the end of the day I loved my baby regardless and I wanted to celebrate her birth as it was a very happy day for me even though it was tinged with sadness for my daughter because of her medical conditions.

    #126143
    libby1
    Participant

    I am really shocked to read some comments, i wouldnt be offering sympathy to a person who had a Down Syndrome baby..
    There has been so much advancement in the whole area of Down Syndrome, there is so much available for them and endless support.

    I would be so happy for that person, nobody knows what people go through to have a baby..

    I would celebrate the birth of the baby like any other baby.. Have some dignity for the mother

    Taylor5 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:46 am

    Just act as you would with any baby, I would just give the baby a kiss and a cuddle as you would any baby.
    I know a mum who had a downs baby, I grabbed him for a cuddle and i didnt want to give back, i told her he was just sooo beautiful (as he was) About 6 months ago she told me that i made her feel sooo happy, she said she knew i just wanted a kiss and a cuddle and i looked past the downs and seen a little baby, she told me she was able to relax and really look at her baby and see him for what he was, just a beautiful pretty and perfect baby.
    Be natural and let her express her feelings.
    I remember years ago being in the Glenside for lunch and one of the girls said "oh i worked with that girl" I said are you not going over to have a look at that baby, she said "no, it has downs i dont know what to say" I will never forget looking back at the girl as she cried into her lunch!! I was 7 months pregnant at the time and this upset me so much. Never ignore someone over a death or a sick child, its not like they dont know their was a death, just say a kind work, it cant hurt as much as being ignored

    Taylor i could nt agree more… I know a friend who was snubbed by friends because her baby was born different…

    #126152
    pookie2
    Member

    Ta – Mummy 5 especially. That would be what I would hope too if my baby turns out to have problems. Our baby would be loved regardless, but I pray that he / she will have no major issues.

    I have no intention of ignoring the new mum or her little baby – I’m just love little babies anyway – I just don’t want to upset the mum. And I know she is upset because this was so unexpected & it would be a lot for anyone to get their head around.

    As for the sympathy thing – I don’t think it is a case of ‘poor you having THIS baby’, I think it is more ‘I’m sorry you’ve had a shock, I’m sorry your precious baby will have more issues to deal with’.

    I know what my gut instintcs are but it is an area I find difficult to put into words

    #126154
    Jedt
    Member

    It is a shock, definitely but hopefully she will get over that soon and can enjoy being a mammy to a new baby. Bring cake and presents as you normally would, its a celebration of a new life.

    When any of my friends has a baby, I usually bring a casserole and cake and gift for the baby. I think its nice to bring a dinner, so they do not have to cook that day and cake is always nice!!

    #126157
    mammycool
    Participant

    It makes me sad to read this. A baby is a baby – so small and cute and helpless. My friend next door was in a similar situation. She found out when her little fella was born. He has very mild down syndrome but did have to have a minor heart op in the first few weeks.

    I think the biggest thing it the fear of the unknown. If she has not already, tell her to get in contact with Down Syndrome Ireland. They will give her the guidance she needs for the future.

    My little friend is now a very happy little 6yr old. He is in Junior Infants and loving it. Downs Syndrome kids love to cuddle – so I am sure the little baby will love a cuddle too.

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