A group of families in New Jersey have spoken out about the unspoken benefits of having a child with Down’s syndrome, in a touching video that hopes to give parents considering an abortion all of the available options.
Photographer Julie Willson, whose late sister Dina had Down’s syndrome, organised the project to bring together parents who have babies with the genetic condition.
Julie said; ‘My plan is to send this video out to doctor offices and hospitals nationwide so that when a parent receives their child’s Down syndrome diagnosis, they can watch this and know that everything is going to be okay.’
The short film, titled ‘There is nothing down about Down’s syndrome’, asks young families what advice they would give to other new parents of Down’s children, or those considering whether or not to go through with a pregnancy.
In the highly emotional clip, which has been watched 157,000 times, the parents are quick to reassure all potential mothers-to-be about the unspoken benefits of having a disabled child.
One mother, who is filmed crying with her husband and three children, tells the camera; ‘There’s nobody to tell you that it’s an amazing journey, that she’s going to bring smiles to your life every single day, nobody tells you that.
‘They tell you she’s not going to walk in a year, they tell you that she’s not going to talk in a year. They don’t tell you everything she will bring into your family.’
Another mother adds; ‘I was devastated (when I found out). You have no concept of how your life is going to be blessed beyond measure by your child. And I know you’re not ready to hear it now, but in the days to come you will see. There’s nothing in the world that could equate to the love that they’re going to bring into your lives.’
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Film-maker Julie was inspired to make the film in tribute to her sister Dina, who would have been celebrating her 40th birthday this week. She hopes it helps parents who’ve been given the diagnosis to consider all of the options available to them.
In the film, Julie’s family share their memories of Dina’s birth and how social workers came on to the maternity ward to recommend putting Dina in a home.
‘Dina was such a blessing on our life, it’s the closest thing to God that you can get. Dina and her love was unconditional.’