In September 2011, Kerry Robles delivered a beautiful little boy with red hair in Ireland. However, shortly after his birth, Kerry was told that her son had Down syndrome and was in total shock.
She explained, “He was just beautiful, with bright red hair, a ready-made punky Mohican and the most gorgeous almond eyes. I didn’t think there was anything wrong, but then just four minutes later, the midwife blurted out, ‘I think he has some characteristics of Down’s syndrome.’ Our whole world crumbled instantly. It was the happiest and then the saddest moment of my life – rolled into one. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.”
Kerry added, “I thought it was only older mums who had babies with Down’s syndrome. I was 32. I didn’t know how normal life could possibly carry on. I’m ashamed to say my son’s birth was the darkest day of my life. I was devastated to learn he had Down’s syndrome. I couldn’t believe it. I could barely look at him.”
“I was wrong.”
The Daily Mail reports that Kerry’s perspective is completely different now— in fact, the mother says her son, Hanaki, is the best thing that has ever happened to her and her family. She explained, “Hanaki has turned everyone’s lives upside down, but in a good way. By just being here he has taught us acceptance, to not judge a book by its cover, to celebrate the here and now, to take joy in achieving every tiny milestone that others take for granted – and he’s made us better people just by knowing him.”
She continued, “His Mexican grandfather calls him “red devil” as he loves his rough and tumble play, and his dad and I can regularly be found in fits of giggles watching his renditions of Let It Go from Frozen.”
Unfortunately, culture isn’t always accepting of people with Down syndrome and Kerry learned this the hard way. At a clothing store, a woman approached her and asked, “Did you know before you had him? No? Because otherwise you’d have had an abortion love, wouldn’t you?” Kerry said she was horrified. She explained, “I was choked. How could anyone be so cruel? As much as I willed myself to be strong, I spent the rest of the day in floods of tears – desperately trying to hide them from Hanaki.”
As LifeNews previously reported, 90% of women who receive the prenatal diagnosis that their child will have Down syndrome end their life through abortion. This sad fact shows us that our society is not where we need to be in regards to respecting and valuing all human life.
Mrs Robles and her husband added to their family unit in 2013 with a little sister for Hanaki, Marley. She was born on International Down’s Syndrome Day – 21st March, referring to the extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes the illness.
Mrs Robles said: ‘Marley is now Hanaki’s biggest fan. When he doesn’t want to eat his dinner the only person he will let spoon-feed him is his feisty little sister.
‘When he falls, she is the first to come to his rescue, kissing him and wiping his knee.’ Hanaki is about to turn four and is progressing well in all areas. His mum was told he may not walk till around now, but he’s been toddling around since he was two.
‘I’ve learned to accept advice from the medical profession, but I’ll let no one tell me what my little boy ‘cannot do’! He’s proved them all wrong several times so far, so I take everything doctors tell me with a good-humored pinch of salt.’
In February of last year, Hanaki underwent major heart surgery to close ten holes in the heart. His mum said he was, as he is with every hurdle he has ever had to overcome, a complete hero throughout.
‘His dad and I were so sad, with big fat tears sliding down our cheeks as he lay there, all groggy from surgery, but he would smile up at us with those big, brown eyes and everything would feel ok’, she said. He has a big Frankenstein scar down the front of his chest now, but he points at it proudly and giggles – as if he knows it is his battle scar from when he was a brave little boy.’
‘I always say that the day the surgeons fixed his heart they fixed mine too’.
It is estimated that some 750 babies a year are born with Down’s syndrome in the UK. And thanks to changes in cultural attitudes, better information and education, people with this condition are living more rich and fulfilled lives than ever before.