Author: Melissa Pelletier

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about.

Right after my girl was born and subsequently diagnosed with Down syndrome, just about the only people we could speak to about it were our parents. Because I couldn’t talk about it without completely losing my shiz. My maternal hormones were on parade and the words just couldn’t leave my mouth without the flood gates also breaking open from my eyes. So I did what I do. I wrote it down. I sent an email to about 40 of our closest friends, laying down the facts and a hopeful outlook for our future.  I asked that nobody call. I gave permission for them to spread the word as appropriate but asked that whomever they tell respect our privacy, too. The last thing I wanted was for the rest of the world to see the hot mess I had become. What followed was simply amazing. Encouraging, loving emails poured in for weeks. I saved them all and re-read them many times back in the beginning.  It was the best support I could’ve asked for. I was thankful to whomever discovered the internet for doing so in my lifetime. * * * It’s been just over four years now. I can have a normal, factual conversation about Down syndrome. Ask me about the symptoms, her surgeries, her therapies – I’m good. Touch the emotional stuff, though, and I’m still toast. This is one of the reasons...

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Down syndrome: A diagnosis story

Just a few weeks ago, my girl turned four.  And every year her birthday comes around, my brain goes back to the day she broke free from the mothership, the day she was born.  We’d been so excited to meet her and finally reveal her name to our friends and family.  Little did we know, she had a little secret of her own: a 47th chromosome, a tiny little extra #21. The story of how I found out about her secret leaves much to be desired.  It starts with my husband and I spending time holding her in my hospital room, marveling over this miracle that had taken place just an hour earlier – on my 30th birthday, no less! I remember trying to take the perfect picture to send to friends and family.  I took her “first picture” three times because I thought she looked kind of Asian in the first two.  (Which would be totally cool except there’s not a drop of Asian in either of us.)  I wrote that thought off as “well, that must be what brand new babies look like” cause hey, I’d never seen an hour-old human live and up close before. Anyway. Suddenly, I was alone – my husband had gone out with my brother to grab non-hospital food lunch.  A doctor and a nurse came in out of nowhere, turned off the...

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Dear Second Kid…

Dear Second Kid, One day, a couple years down the road, you’ll google (or whatever the kids are using those days) your mom’s name and find this blog post. By the time you do this, you’ll likely have asked yourself why your sister has a baby book completely filled out with pictures and trinkets, the bigger bedroom, even her own logo on t-shirts and signs and maybe even more toys.  And you have… a handful of pictures in a box. Why, dear, the answer is simple. I love her more.* OK, fine. I love you both the same amount. And I totally swear that’s not a load of crap. Because I hear you – I always thought parents secretly had favorites but that’s really, really not true. I swear. Really. Well, at least for right now as I write this because you’re one. And it’s hard to not love a one-year old who doesn’t talk back. Anyhow, let me tell you why she’s got all this stuff that you don’t. 1. You are freaking exhausting. You don’t remember this first-hand but by the time you read this, I’ll have told you the story at least 860,000 times. You know – the one where you were a full two weeks overdue in a July heatwave… ending in 27 grueling hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing your GIGANTIC TEN...

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I Don’t Read the Books: Tales from a Special Needs Mom

I had the blessing and the curse of experiencing my first pregnancy alongside many good friends. We compared notes all the way through. How big is your bump next to mine? What kinds of foods can’t you eat? Where did you buy your crib? What are you doing in the nursery?   One by one, all the babies came. I’d tell my little bump about all the friends that were waiting for her I’d daydream about my girl with the curly brown hair, swept up in pigtails eventually pretty grown up, with soccer cleats and socks up to her knees. A face full of dirt and a soccer jersey with the number 7 on her back. (No dance class. Not one dance class.) College scholarship?  Maybe. That was going to be my girl.   Then she was born. And in one conversation with a doctor and a nurse …and a few days to wait for the karotype… Down syndrome.   Those dreams were gone. Replaced with nightmaresof therapies and delays, Visions of fighting a school system for 18+ years. Grad school replaced with group home? And that retirement I’d already saved so well for? Better increase those contributions cause now you’re retiring with two.   Welcome to motherhood.   The nurse came in to check on me and found my husband and I curled up on the little bed in...

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