I receive a lot of lovely messages and I love reading them, but today I got one that took my breath away. Not in a good way. To the lady who sent the message, I know your intentions were good and I know you meant no harm. I just feel that this is a point I need to make and I hope you understand after I make it.
I woke up to a message informing me that they had been praying for my son. Not a prayer for his well being, but a prayer to take his Down syndrome away. I find it so upsetting because that is not what I want at all, and River or our family do not need or appreciate those prayers.
Understand that I’m not saying prayer is a bad thing, not at all. Pray for health, pray that people are accepting and caring, pray for a kinder world and a bright future. But do not pray for my sons Down syndrome to disappear; do no pray for him to be ‘cured’ and do not pray for a part of him to not exist. He has an extra chromosome that is part of his genetic makeup, he is not sick.
Anyone who has followed us for a while will know that I believe in the positives of differences and that they should be embraced. Whether it’s disability, religion, race, sexuality or anything else, I believe that diversity is a good thing. I believe that River is exactly who he is meant to be and that he is living the life that was meant for him. His extra chromosome is not a mistake, it is a part of him and I have never once thought that River was a mistake. Never.
I have also never once prayed that River didn’t have Down syndrome, not one single time, so please don’t you do it either. He is not sick, he does not have an illness and he does not have a negative existence. We don’t want anything to change!
One thing that I am certain of is that River having Down syndrome is NOT a punishment from God. There are many things I don’t know, many things I question and many things that I’m unsure how I feel about, but that is not one of them. I am 100 percent certain that my son is not a punishment; my son does not have Down syndrome because of something that I may have done in my past. End of story.
How can somebody or something that makes me so extremely happy be a punishment? I’ve said it many times before, that the hardest part of River’s life is not his diagnosis, its other people. Society seems to have a much bigger issue with Down syndrome than we do.
River’s family does not want him to change, so neither should you.
He is not a mistake.
He is River.