The stories of heroic mothers rarely appear on the nightly news, even when they include prominent figures like Genevieve Shaw Brown, Travel and Lifestyle Editor for ABC News.
Genevieve recently wrote about her infant son, William Michael Brown, who has Down syndrome. The Browns knew prior to his birth that he would be born with Down syndrome, and of those months leading up to his birth she writes,
Still, the months that passed were anything but easy. I broke down in the bathroom at work. I had panic attacks in the night. I had accepted that my child would have Down syndrome, decided there was nothing in the world that could change my love for him. I had loved him from the moment I knew I was pregnant with him. Did I love him unconditionally? I did. But still. The pain was there.
William is now six months old, and Genevieve's inspiring article about his presence in their lives is worth reading from beginning to end. Her closing words touched my heart in a very special way. She writes,
Yes, I think about Down syndrome often. Right now though, it doesn't mean a lot. I take Will to see specialists to make sure he stays as healthy as he is today. He sees therapists weekly to be sure he meets each milestone. Of course I would take those extras away if I could, if only to have more time to relax. But being his advocate, being his caretaker, and being his appointment-maker is an honor.
As is being his mother.
And one day, when William reads this, he will know that there was a time I was very scared to be his mom. For that I will always be sorry. But he'll also know that even though I was scared, my love for him was stronger than the fear. And that he has brought me nothing but pride and joy. And that I can't wait to spend our life together, the four of us.
The message derived from heartfelt stories like this one is that providing unselfish love for another requires an awareness deep inside your heart that children are gifts, not problems. It reminds us that love that runs so deep and is so noble is the antithesis of what society would have us think.
Through Genevieve's agony and her joy we see once again that love does conquer all.
Yet her story is not unique. Laura Peredo, a writer for Live Action News, recalled the death of her brother Robert who had Down syndrome:
Our society often shuns people like my brother Robert who don't fit the cookie-cutter version of perfect. But it's the unique qualities of each person that make our society thrive. These different qualities never make us worthy or unworthy of life. It's just who we are. People who have Down syndrome are different from what our society views as "normal," but inside, they're just like you and me.
And then there's Kurt Kondrich, a man who has devoted himself tirelessly to sharing stories of his beloved, adorable daughter Chloe, who has Down syndrome. He created a blog to tell her story and he writes commentaries for numerous publications and websites. His message to the world is simply that Down syndrome is not a curse, but a blessing.
In 2008, Kondrich started SADSIN (Stop Aborting Down Syndrome Individuals Now) - a ministry with a mission. Kurt explains: "When I became aware of the [more than] 90 percent abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb, I literally could not sleep at night. . . . I have since embarked on a mission to make sure people are aware of this genocide. I want people to see the beautiful faces of our kids and realize the priceless blessings and gifts they are to a society that has lost focus."
People like Genevieve, Laura, and Kurt help remind us that each individual from creation onward "is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of His presence, a trace of His glory." Let them be shining examples to us all.
A child is never a burden!