Written by: Madison Sponsler
Two years ago I knew nothing about Down Syndrome and had maybe met an entire two people that had it in my lifetime. I was very uneducated when it came to the disability community. Flash forward to June 2020 and I found myself sitting in a NICU room with my newborn baby. The day prior, I had learned that she had Down Syndrome and a heart defect that would require surgery.
Since receiving my daughter’s diagnosis, I’ve have a lot of moms (and dads) tell me that they could never handle the cards that my husband and I have been dealt. It's a topic that I get comments on almost daily. Honestly, if you had told me even a few hours before Liberty's birth what was about to take place, I probably would have told you that I couldn't handle my own cards.
But here we are, seventeen months later, still alive and thriving. When we received our daughter’s diagnosis, I wouldn't have pictured my life looking the way it does today. Everything seems almost too "normal". Wasn't this diagnosis suppose to change everything? Wasn't it suppose to throw my entire life off of its rails?
In reality, every time a baby is born, something ferocious is birthed inside of the woman who carried the child. A tender strength that would do anything to make sure her baby is protected and loved, regardless of their shape, size, color, features, or abilities. It's a miraculous and much needed quality that helps empower moms to face the “unfaceable”.
The strength in the mom waking up for the 100th time during the night is the same strength as the mom in line for food stamps struggling to feed her babies. That strength is the same strength I had holding the hand of my day-old baby in a hospital incubator while waiting to receive her diagnosis. Taking care of my daughter’s needs, even if she happens to have a few more than the next kid, doesn't make me a super mom. Most moms would go to great lengths to make sure that their child is taken care of, I am simply doing the same.
You see, I’ve been in both pairs of shoes. I have been the one watching moms with medically complex children wondering how on earth they are able to manage. I’ve also been the one receiving pity looks as I walk my daughter into the “specialty clinic” area of the hospital. Since I’ve been in both places, I feel very qualified to tell you that moms of children with disabilities are a lot more normal than you think. We most likely need a nap, we're obsessed with target, and we could always use a good cup of coffee with a really good friend.
You can learn more about Madison & her family on Instagram @thesponslercrew!