Down Syndrome Community
Saying the right thing.
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Saying the right thing.

My friend who is 41 went into hospital on Friday for a c-section.  I did not hear from her all weekend so I texted her to see how it had gone.  She told me her daughter was having lots of tests but said there were too many to text.  I've asked a couple of other times since but she seems to avoid the question.  She's still in hospital and apparently has no access to a phone so can only text.  I'm wondering if the child has downs although I thought they may have picked this up earlier in a scan?   I really want to be there for her but obviously am finding it hard as she won't talk to me.  What would be the best way to support her? What do new parents go through?
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Parenting a new baby is a tremendous and exhausting experience, and if your friend's newborn has health concerns, even more so.  You've asked several times and she's avoided answering, so perhaps it's wise to give her some time and space.  She might just need to be alone (or with her partner) a while to adjust to the new circumstances.  Just let her know that you're there for her, and I'm sure when the time is right she will reach out.

Many children with Down syndrome give no apparent signs on ultrasound before birth, so a good number of parents do not know until after deliver if a baby has Down syndrome.  Btw, in regards to 'saying the right thing...' I would discourage the use of the slang 'downs' when referring to children with trisomy 21 as some parents find it offensive.  As for what new parents go through, if indeed your friend's baby has Down Syndrome, you might find this article of interest in helping you support your friend:

http://www.parenting.com/article/Baby/Health/Raising-a-Baby-with-Down-Syndrome/1

Hope that helps.
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Thanks for your comments.  It really helps. My apologies for the slang.  I wasn't aware it was offensive.  Thats exactly the sort of thing I want to know so I don't say the wrong thing.  I'm guessing there are a lot of cliche things that people say which could be offensive.  From what I've read, the only real difference to start with is that a child with trisomy 21 may take a little longer to reach the milestones although there may be other health issues.  With all these things though its just a case of taking a day at a time.  Before I had my kids, I was always overwhelmed with the thought of how I would deal with them when they were bigger.  In reality you don't give birth to a teenage child so you have a lot of time to build on your parenting skills before you need to tackle the bigger issues.  

I really hope she has her partner there.  I know he works for himself so often disappears. Tina's been my friend for about 10 years now and she's been with this guy about 5 or 6 years.  He's a recovering alcoholic and has difficulty in social situations.  We've only met him twice as he normally goes out if he knows we're going over.  It's a bit strange as the two times we met him, he was very pleasant and didn't seem nervous at all.

Think thats whats worrying me most, the thought that she's been left on her own at all.  She's normally very emotional so anything like this is going to really worry her.  She's also a bit of a control freak.  I am waiting for her to contact me now, as hard as that is.  Just wish I could help her.  

I will have a look at the article, thanks again for your help.


Debs
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What a wonderful answer provided by Eureka.  I wanted to also add, if there is anything I can help to explain when it comes to Down syndrome itself, please do not hesitate to call upon me.  I am a parent guide for Down syndrome diagnosis and I also run several support groups for Down syndrome.  I have a few websites which are full of informative resources (such as my blog) for parents such as myself who are raising a child with Ds.  As Eureka mentioned, parenting a newborn is a tremendously exhausting task alone and if Down syndrome is a part of that discovery, it can certainly cause a whole host of mixed emotions that the parents who are/were not counting on at such a time of joy.  These emotions that they experience (and also yours) are quite normal and are expected.   If indeed the baby has been or is being diagnosed with Down syndrome, some parents find it hard to deal with their own emotions regarding the diagnosis, when they are expecting/ed to feel joy of their child's birth.  It is and can be a very conflicting time.  And many do not know how family or friends will feel about their child let alone knowing how to cope themselves with a diagnosis that for years has had such varying stereotypes and incorrect/outdated information.

When the time is right, they will reach out for their friends and family.  Until that time, be as supportive as you can by letting them know that you are there, no matter what they need from you at the moment.  Later on they may want more information regarding support or resources regarding Down syndorome, and if you are or they are intersted, they can visit my site at any time.  There is always so much that we wish to share as parents in the same community.  
My site is: www.welcometoourhouse-myjournal.blogspot.com
Please feel free to take it down should you want to pass it on sometime in future.  As I mentioned though, at this point research might be the farthest from their minds and great friends can help by educating themselves too - and for their friends when they are ready.  
Ds is not something to be sad about, and in time (if that is their journey) they will see it too.  Congratulations to your friends on the birth of their baby.  And on a personal note to you - thank you for being such a wonderful friend to them.  I wish the world had more of you!

In addition to anything I have mentioned, please keep in mind, that while I or others may have extensive knowledge in many areas, you should always seek professional medical advice from your own physician, as it pertains to medical conditions or concerns.

Good luck, and if you have any other questions that I can help you with, please feel free to message me directly.

Sincerely,
Sandi (Dragon1973)
MedHelp Genetics Community Leader;
Children - Special Needs Community Leader;
Down syndrome Community Leader & Ds Group Forum Founder/Moderator;
MTHFR Group Forum Founder/Moderator;
Pregnancy: June 2011 Community Leader
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