World Down Syndrome Day: What you can do and a special book

3-21! 3-21 is special. It is a special day to bring awareness to Down Syndrome! Down syndrome is a congenital disorder. Why 3-21 is relevant is those with down syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome. So they have 3 of that chromosome instead of 2. What better day to bring public awareness and honor those near and dear to us? You can learn more about the day and ways to honor the day here. Our favorite is wearing fun socks, mismatching, or even 3 socks! #lotsofsocks

In the last year someone close to me discovered their baby in fact has down syndrome. The wave of emotions new parents feel upon learning this can be vast and challenging. As a doula and friend I am always available to listen as whatever feelings they have are valid, and real. And I am also so thrilled for this baby to have such awesome parents. They are going to be the type of parents all the other kids view as the “cool” ones. Seriously!

I felt I had an idea what of kiddos with down syndrome and their parents may face as I have another friend who has been teaching, and an administrator in a public school district for special education. She and her students have unique, beautiful bonds. The way she speaks of them and the stories of her time spent with these little ones oozes with warmth and love.

I asked this educator friend for resources and she immediately gave me a copy of Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton.

When I received it the book cover was tattered and well loved. Little tears and folds, creases and markings. A little yellow post-it said, “Please read this. As you can see I share it with many families.”

I pushed my other books off to the side and dove in. OK so I am a crier. My emotions are easily tapped ok! I dove in while sitting on the bleachers at my daughter’s volleyball class. Instantly I was immersed and emotionally attached. I found myself tearing up rather quickly at the author’s tale of her life. It dawned on me, well crud, now I am crying in the bleachers! Honestly though I didn’t care, I kept reading.

Here is why I think this book is an excellent read. (Well aside that she is originally from Michigan) Kelle Hampton bears her soul on every emotion she felt from pregnancy, birth and parenthood. She’s honest and raw. She shared her thoughts and she did so because she’s not alone in them. By being honest about her path she brings others in to truly understand her emotional ride.

This book isn’t just for those wanting to learn more about down syndrome and a peek into what parents may grapple with. It’s also a beautiful story of love. And blossoming in a new way you would have never imagined. It is a wonderful book for so many. But especially in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Day it’s a wonderful book to pick up!

So grab 2 or 3 of your funnest socks you have, order Bloom, and take some time to learn a bit more about down syndrome.

Authored by Andrea Stainbrook

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