Journalist Caroline Boudet’s baby daughter Louise is the joy of her and her husband. But since Louise was born four months ago with down’s syndrome, she’s been the target of cruel and insensitive comments by strangers.In response, Caroline decided to write an open letter on Facebook to tell her true thoughts:
“Here is my baby girl, Louise. She is 4 months old, has two legs two arms, and one extra chromosome.
Please, when you meet a baby with down syndrome, do not ask her mother “how come you did not find out during the pregnancy?” Either it was, and the parents took the decision to keep the baby or it wasn’t and the surprise was great enough that there’s no need to revisit it. Keep in your mind that mothers have a tendency to feel guilty about each and every thing, so a surprising extra chromosome… I let you guess.
Don’t tell her mother “it’s you baby no matter what”. No. It’s my baby, period. Plus, “nomatterwhat” is quite an ugly name, I’d rather call her Louise.
Don’t tell her mother “as she a down’s baby, she will…” etc. No. She is a 4 month old baby who happens to have down syndrome. It’s not what she IS, it’s what she HAS. You wouldn’t says “she’s a cancer baby”.
Don’t say “they’re like this, they’re like that”. “They” all have their features, their character, their own tastes, their life. “They” are as different between them as you are from you neighbor.
I know that if one does not experience it, one does not think about it but words do matter. They can comfort and they can hurt. So just give it a thought, especially if you’re a doctor or nurse of any kind.
Each year there are so many mothers with babies with down syndrome that can have a day ruined by insensitive or cruel words. I know it’s not meant to hurt. But you just need to know.”
Caroline has received a lot of messages of support and love and she said she feels “very touched” by the responses. Please keep her words in mind next time you see a family with a child with down syndrome.
Share this with your friends and family today.