Episode 13 of Jane The Virgin and Amniocentesis

Dear Jane,

Same as you,  I was about 5 months pregnant and totally excited about learning of my child’s sex, when I was informed about the possibility of him having a genetic disorder. It was hard, confusing and very frustrating.

I decided to not to have the amniocentesis done, I wasn’t strong enough to know for sure, so I decided instead to believe that it was all a mistake.

Four months after, my child was born. Even I wasn’t ready to hear of his diagnosis, he was born with Down syndrome. I wasn’t prepared for that moment, no one really is, and it took me several weeks and even months to get used to the terminology, to the special needs related to his condition, but especially to the realization that beyond the diagnosis, that child was mine, and there’s no more perfect, and more amazing human being than him to me.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer in these cases, having or not the amniocentesis is a very personal decision, as it’s for many, to keep or not the pregnancy. Anyway, I’m very happy you did, and very proud of you for giving up one of the most important moments of your life (your graduation), for taking care of yourself and your baby. I hope your example will touch the hearts of many, who decide to not to give their own child the opportunity to be born, and change their lives for ever, in the most wonderful and magical way: with true love, a non different love from any other, instead, the exact same love.

Well, just wanted to tell you this before chapter 14, just because I’m sure everything will be ok with your baby. It’s still not usual to give birth to a child with special needs on a TV show. I guess that would be another story, but at least, it’s good to know that we are giving the 1st step to creating awareness, by taking the news with responsibility and hope, as you did.

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And by the way, I have two children, my son who was born on April 2014 and will be 11 years old soon, and my daughter who was born three years after; Ayelén, who’ll be 8 years old in the next couple of weeks, and was also born with Down syndrome. Besides the choice of having or not he amnio to confirm their diagnosis, I’m happy because they are here and I never took their lives as a choice, because their diagnosis doesn’t change the fact that they are my children, and that I love them with all my heart.

Good luck tonight!

Being A Friend As The Mother of Kids with Special Needs

En Español, aquí. 

I’m lucky to say that I have wonderful friends in my life, however, the path hasn’t been always this easy. My real friends have been always honest, have always asked how do I feel about this or that, or how do I want to handle certain situations they don’t feel comfortable with. I could always reply just by saying: “My kids are just kids, don’t make a big deal out of their disabilities,” but the truth is that sometimes we need to talk, face and answer certain questions, in order to be clear about the expectations that we have from the people we love the most, and from society in general.

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These are 12 Things I Want My Friends To Know About Our Friendship After Becoming The Mother of Two Children with Special Needs

1. Please educate your children about my child’s condition. Don’t ask them to be nicer to them because of their disability. Ask them to treat them like any other child. That’s what I teach my children about yours.

2. For my birthday don’t bring me flowers or presents, just give me a break and let me have some time for myself. Help me take care of my children for a couple of hours. I trust you like nobody else.

3. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m growing, learning and celebrating my kids’ abilities and blessings, just like you do with yours. There’s nothing really different between you and me. We both do our best every day, and we both love our kids as nobody else.

4. Take me out! Don’t let me say no. Let’s wear high heels and our best make up. I need to enjoy myself.

5. Don’t worry if you see me crying. Let me be alone, and please, understand that sometimes I need to fall to get up stronger than ever. Nothing different than in the past.

6. Don’t be shy about sharing your children’s achievements with me. I’ll celebrate this special time along with you. My children have their own achievements and I’m thankful that you are always there to celebrate simple things with me.

7. I know you want to help but please don’t tell me how to do things better. As mothers we have plenty of things in common, but we have also some different challenges and prizes in this task. Just understand that there are things about my child that you would probably never understand, and that’s okay. You don’t need to understand us, just accept us. I’ll do the same for you.

8. Please remind me to have faith. I know sometimes I’m over protective and I get easily scared of simple things.

9. Call me anytime when you need to talk, or stop by if you need a hug. I know my life seems complicated sometimes, but I’ll always do my best to be there for you, as you are always here for me. I feel proud and happy to be able to help you.

10. Let’s laugh and have fun. Call me whenever you need to talk bad about your mother in law, enjoy the latest magazine cover of William Levy, or discuss Angelina Jolie’s legs. I’m here for the important stuff but I’m also here to share some laughs and “girl talk.”

11. Please excuse me if I talk too much about therapies, inclusion, and stuff that’s foreign to you. Sometimes I have nothing else to share. I’m not obsessed, I’m just trying to understand.

12. Finally and the most important: Love my child in his ups and downs. I swear I’ll love yours the same.

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Would I have loved them more or less if they were not born with Down syndrome?

Would I have loved them more or less if they were not born with Down syndrome? 

Would they be happier or better if they didn’t have this extra chromosome?  Continue reading →

Reflection. After 8 Months Playing with The Barbie Project

8 months ago I was invited to participate at the Barbie Project, an exciting experience for both, my daughter and I. After receiving a dream box full of Barbie items, the experiment started and continued for the following months. Continue reading →

4 Ways of Taking Advantage Of The Child’s Natural Environment When He has Special Needs

Kids with special needs may need additional services, attention and supervision, but their biggest necessity is still the same as everyone else, love, attention and respect based on their unique talents and abilities. Your child’s natural environment opportunities are all the typical and natural things that happens everyday with no plan and no pressure. Are those special times when he feels happy, complete and celebrated, no matter how simple his triumphs are. Those little victories will keep him motivated and developing a healthy sense of self-esteem. Life should not be a competition, but a permanent celebration of our own talents—and that’s true for every one of us.

These are 4 Ways of Taking Advantage of his natural environment:

- Play with your child! Plan on natural and fun routines for you and your child. Schedules are great, but they must be flexible. Children learn through play, but when playing stops being spontaneous, kids feel pressured and unmotivated, and their fun is ruined.

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- Isn’t all about therapies! Therapies are an important part of early intervention, but their goal is often misunderstood. Therapies are not meant to fix a child, but to get at the best of his unique abilities. When you play with your child, you are applying natural techniques into his daily routine with no pressure. Therapy will help correct and prevent delays, but can´t speed up your child’s growth or heal a disability. Your child doesn’t need to be fixed or cured. He needs to be accepted and empowered to be the best he can be, just like any other kid.

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- Live today to its fullest! Live the present to be ready for the future. Your future is built every day, and if you focus on the future, you’ll be wasting the present.Let your child guide you and show you what his real abilities are.

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- Believe, and learn to dream new dreams! Love is to believe, accepting our loved ones with their weaknesses and strengths. Follow your kid’s interests; give him the opportunities he needs to develop his natural abilities. Don’t focus on the result, but on the main goal of helping him grow his personal talents with no competition or pressure.

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The Immorality to Giving Birth To Your Own Children

Richard Dawkins said it raw and simple, if you are aware during your pregnancy that your child has Down syndrome, go ahead and “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

So, considering that I have two children with Down syndrome, I suppose he’d think I am the most immoral and ignorant person in the world for not using my personal choice of killing my own children. That’s interesting, but not uncommon.  

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My Perfect Daughter with Down syndrome

Ayelén was born when Emir was close to his 3rd birthday. Before getting pregnant for the 2nd time, my husband and I talked about our fears and how we would face the possibility of having a second child with Down syndrome. After a long discussion, we decided to make a pledge of love, and welcome her with no regrets with or without the extra chromosome. So we decided to call her “Ayelén”; that means Joy in Hebrew. No tests were done.

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Motherhood and Mental Health. Things Every Mother Should Know About it!

Being a wife, mother, and professional is not an easy thing to handle, and finding the right balance to not lose our sanity, is harder than it may look. It’s for this reason that I invited Amanda Edwards: registered psychotherapist in the State of Colorado, from Mom of Ambition, to share her professional advice on the Things every mother should know about mental health. Continue reading →

Common Fears If Your Child with Special Needs Is Starting School

I’ll never forget my son’s 1st day of school. That was 7 years ago the same day he turned 3 years old. Letting my child stay at school the day we should be celebrating his 3rd day was not an easy task for me to process. He was a tiny little boy. He didn’t know how to chew properly yet, he wasn’t potty trained and his vocabulary had only one word: Mama.

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Breastfeeding My Child with Special Needs

Ten years ago when my son was born, the doctors and specialists told me several times that he wasn’t physically prepared to breastfeed and they asked me to not to feel sad about not being able to nurse him. I believed it was a possibility and I didn’t want to deny us both the opportunity for this loving connection because of a disability. After I insisted, they took him off the oxygen machine and placed him in my arms. The weak baby started nursing right away and after his doses of liquid love, straight from Mommy, he started breathing by himself. That was the first lesson my son taught to me: to never believe someone else just because of his college degrees or experience. I learned my child is unique and he’s the only one who should set limits for himself.

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I know the story is not the same for everyone, and many parents face the distress of learning that their child have a disability, while mom face the emotional hit of not being able to breastfeed the child, but breastfeeding should never be a forced emotional obligation, but an invitation to bond and embrace motherhood. Continue reading →