When You Are a Paediatrician and Your Baby Has Down Syndrome
I am a Paediatrician and the Mother of a 6-year-old son, Neil, who has Down syndrome.
I was working the day he was born. My Husband was working in the same hospital, so we went to the labour and delivery ward. The Obstetrician checked a trace of the babies heart rate. It was abnormal. I was instantly taken for surgery and within the next half an hour we were blessed with a beautiful boy.
When I was in the recovery room, my Hubby came to me and burst into tears. Our boy had features consistent with Down Syndrome. I still remember my reaction, “Hemant, it’s OK, we were chosen for this.”
One of the best Paediatricians in Mumbai, told us he was sorry. He said Neil’s blood test was positive for Down syndrome, he might not be able to do certain things… I don’t remember anyone saying to me, “Congratulations!”
I have been working as a Paediatrician in the UK for the last five years. When I deliver babies with Down Syndrome, I make sure the first thing I say to all new parents is, “Congratulations!” I felt lost those first few months when my baby was born; I did not enjoy his tiny toes, his tiny grip. I want something different for these new parents. I give them a poem that says, “It’s gonna be OK. The pain will lessen and the courage will be passed on. Don’t waste time worrying, enjoy your little one.”