• Spotlight

Introduction

Welcome to the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County. We know that the birth or upcoming birth of your baby with Down syndrome brings many mixed emotions – love, fear, joy, sadness and many questions. Whatever you might be feeling or thinking, these first days and weeks can be overwhelming, but we would like you to know that we have been in your shoes and are here to help in whatever way we can.

If you are like many of us, you have not had experience with Down syndrome and are looking for information. We don’t have all the answers, but our packet for new parents provides information about Down syndrome and resources in Montgomery County.

Meeting and talking with other parents in our group can provide you with valuable information, comfort, and perspective. We have also included many resources here on our website to provide you with current information on Down syndrome. Improved medical care, early intervention and advocacy are enabling children with Down syndrome to lead bright and fulfilling lives.

We hope that you will reach out to us. We would like to help you navigate these first days and weeks so you can come to experience the overwhelming joy and love that our children bring to our lives. To request a home or hospital visit from our New Family Coordinator, please email our New Family Outreach Committee Chair. Or, contact us by phone at 301-979-1112.


Welcome to Holland

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

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