New Pregnancy after Having a Child with Down Syndrome

Common Fears and How to Deal With Them


Many parents who decide to have another child after having a child with Down syndrome claim to not to have fears of any kind, and to be ready to accept their new child whether or not he has Down syndrome.

However, there are common and typical fears that many parents face in this process:

-        The fear of having another child with medical needs. The fear of the suffering of the child and the family, based on the health tendencies associated with Down syndrome.

-        Fear of having to reinvent their lives one more time, to take care of two people with special needs and how challenging this may be.

-        Judgment from society, family or close friends.

-        Economic stability, and the tough decisions of giving up on personal dreams to take proper care of children with special needs.

-        Emotional stress that jeopardizes family personal relationships, including between spouses.

-        Accessibility to services of any kind, including education and health services.

-        The family wellbeing, including of other children, who may have to give up on their own needs and learn to understand that their siblings with special needs need more attention.

All the fears were shared with me by real parents who decided to have another child after having a child with Down syndrome. None of them actually had a second child with Down syndrome. Some of them decided to have the genetic test done, while others decided to have blind pregnancies and wait to find out when the child was born.

The amniocentesis is still the only 100% accurate prenatal test available for detecting Down syndrome. Parents who took the test expressed their discomfort at the reactions of judgmental people, who believe that the test is done only to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. While this is true for many, for others, amnio is just a tool to know and get prepared for the future.

How to Face the Fears

-        Planning the pregnancy with maturity and responsibility is a must for any child. This is the best way to get prepared for a child with or without special needs.

-        Discuss as a couple, and consider the decision to have or note have the test is an intimate conversation that should be respected.

-        Finally, even having an amnio for knowing if your child has or not a genetic condition, doesn’t assure you a perfect parenting experience. That’s the main reason why deciding to have a baby has to be a commitment to unconditional love.

Stories of Parents Who Decided To Have Another Child

Maria Laura is a mother of three: Sofía, who is 4 years old, Emilia, who is less than a year with Down syndrome, and Daniela, who will be born soon.

She learned of Emilia’s diagnosis when she was born. They didn’t expect her to be born with Down syndrome. María Laura says that her initial reaction was to tell her husband that she didn’t want more kids.

A couple of months later, she talked to her husband.

They decided to continue with their desire to have four children. A new pregnancy came earlier than expected, and part of the process of embracing it was to take the test. “I needed to have the test done, otherwise I wouldn’t had been able to enjoy the pregnancy. My husband supported my decision. I don’t know what our reaction would have been if the child had Down syndrome. She didn’t and that gave me peace for the following months. “Something that I learned in the process is the importance of knowing if your child has or doesn’t have a genetic condition that will require special arrangements.”

Ana´s case is quite different. She is the mother of four: Esmeralda (12), Sara (4), Michael (2) and Elizabeth (6 months). She learned about Michael’s diagnosis almost a month after he was born. Her biggest concern was how to deliver the news to her husband and close family.

Having a child with Down syndrome has taught them a lot of new things, one of the most important being how to live with a busy schedule of therapies and doctor’s visits.

That was actually Ana’s main concern about having a second child with Down syndrome—how to keep up with such a responsibility. Ana got pregnant again when Michael was only 6 months old, and her new pregnancy was diagnosed with a high risk of trisomy 18. Down syndrome was not a concern anymore; she only wanted to have a healthy baby. Elizabeth was born with no complications of any kind. She is a happy 6 month old, who enjoys playing with her big brother all the time.

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