I was 20 years old when Louise was born. She was as a result of an unplanned pregnancy although I was in a relationship and we had just bought a house togther. I fell in love with Louise the minute she was born and remember staying awake watching her throughout intervals in the night. She slept all night long at the hospital and the nurses were concerned that she had low blood sugar levels and was jaundiced and I asked lots of questions about her because they seemed to be fussing about her but still I didn't' see that she had features of a child with Downs Syndrome.
About 15 hours after she was born, without any family around me, they placed Louise in my arms and a doctor told me that she had Downs Syndrome. I cried, grieving for the child I thought she would be, but as the doctor explained all the things that she might never do like talk, walk and ride a bike, I started to get annoyed that he was painting my daughter to be a hopeless case and there and then I decided that I was going to do the best for my child and that she would do all the things that he said she couldn't. There have been challenging times when Louise was growing up. Her biological dad left her life when she was a toddler because he struggled to accept her disability and I felt very alone but realised that I needed to protect Louise and enable her to be the best that she could be. I am so very proud of the adult that Louise has become, She is very warm hearted, has lots of friends and is loved by all who meet- not because has DS but because she is so fun loving, so kind and so caring.
The greatest piece of advice I would give to parents of a child with DS is remember that your child is a child like any other and ds only defines part of who they are. Have high aspirations for the future, encourage independence and above all expect a high standard of behaviour- just like you would from their non-ds siblings/any child, Don't make allowances for them because of their disability. If your child hits you or pulls your hair at the age of 3 and you do not address this behaviour at the time that it happens then they will do this at the age of 23. It would feel like hard work at the beginning but it will pay off in the long run.
Louise is very kind and caring towards others. She is a helpless romantic who is always looking for her Prince Charming and I must say her current boyfriend is lovely (she went to secondary school with him but they have only been dating about 5 months). She really loves music especially Steps, Michael Jackson, Whitney and any catchy pop tune. She loves musicals and is a big fan of The Greatest Showman and Mama Mia. Louise loves karaoke and dancing and has taken freestyle, latin and ballroom dance classes from the age of 5 until 19. She loves Eastenders and doesn't like to miss an episode. Louise has 3 dogs and a cat called Jasmine and loves them all very much. When she is on holiday she loves snorkelling and swimming-she is an excellent swimmer.