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Posted on: February 20, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Last updated: February 22, 2019 at 6:05 pm

Many families learn they are expecting a child with Down syndrome before they’re born. Prenatal screening like ultrasounds, maternal serum tests, and blood tests can give a fairly accurate prediction (about 80% or more, depending on the test), while diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling can provide a nearly 100% accurate prediction of a Down syndrome diagnosis, but with a small risk of miscarriage.

Finding out that the newest addition to the family will have special needs gives parents a chance to prepare to properly care for their newborn. But either because of the miscarriage risk of diagnostic tests or simply because the idea never occurred to a woman and her physician, many parents are also surprised with a Down syndrome diagnosis when their new baby enters the world.

For Beau Brooks, father of three, finding out his son has Down syndrome was far from a smooth journey, but one he now openly shares with the world.

Beau Brooks of Thibodaux, Louisiana had big dreams for his third child- his first son. But after 9 months of building expectation and he was finally born, everything changed. “When November 18 came, that son and that dream never showed up.”

 

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It’s #tbt and what better way to throw it back then to welcome new followers and share an excerpt from my diagnosis story. I hope it reaches a parent who may need it right now. If you know someone, please share with them 💙💛 “I was no longer having a son to throw the ball with, the son to take hunting and fishing, the son who would be the all-star quarterback… Instead I now had a child that would complicate our lives and make things difficult…..and I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for having those feelings. The diagnosis was delivered about 10 a.m. and I cried for 10 straight hours. I did not want to see or talk to anyone. No one could comfort me. And I felt guilty — guilty I couldn’t be strong for my wife, guilty for feeling what I was feeling. It was the worst feeling ever.” Link to the full story in bio. #downsyndrome #theluckyfew #nothingdownaboutit #downsyndromeawareness

A post shared by Beau Brooks (@spencer_is_spicy) on

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Beau remembers being able to hold his daughters when they were first born, but when their doctor delivered their son, she noticed he cried with a different tone than other newborns and he was “floppy”. She took him away to examine him before his parents had a chance to bond and get to know him.

While they were waiting to see him, Beau met with his mother and mother-in-law in the hospital hallway to share the good news. “Does he have Down syndrome?” His mom asked, much to his shock.
He admits he was offended by the question. In fact, he was offended by the idea that his son might not be like the boy he had been dreaming about for the past 9 months. But hindsight is 20/20, and now Beau knows his mom was right.

When their doctor returned with their sweet bundle of joy, she told them, “Your son has Down Syndrome.”

Beau recalls that his first reactions weren’t anything to be proud of. He cried, he yelled, and he was overwhelmed with fear.

“My dreams did not include Down syndrome. I began thinking of how much harder life was going to be- the added expense, stress and time of having a child with special needs. He was going to live with us forever. I even asked my wife if we should name him something different instead of Beau Spencer Brooks, Jr.”

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Fortunately, he was contacted by a friend whose own son had Down syndrome. He met with him for dinner that very night and ended up having a conversation that completely changed his perspective for the better.

“He said, ‘You have to mourn the loss of the child you thought you were going to have. You have to mourn and grieve that your son will not be the all-star quarterback of the football team. It’s ok to feel guilty. You have to get through those emotions before you can truly appreciate the gift you’ve been given’,” says Beau.

When he returned to the hospital, he felt ready to properly meet his son. “I was finally able to touch him and hold him. I was finally able to realize that everything was going to be ok,”
By the way, Beau and Spencer are doing great today!

Since Beau’s family has grown, he has openly shared his experiences as the parent of a special needs child. “He made me realize what is really important in life. … He has shown me love that I never knew existed.”

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Even so, he wrote an open apology to young Spencer, being totally transparent about the ways he struggled to care for him at first:

“So I say to you, son, whom I did not touch or hold for the first 12 hours of your life, I am truly sorry. I am sorry I did not celebrate your life and take a million pictures that day. I am sorry I let you down. I am sorry that I missed those precious hours with you. I am sorry I did not give you the love and affection that you so needed and deserved.

“Please forgive me. I never imagined I could feel love like I feel for you. I promise you that there will be no other person in this world who will fight harder for you than I will. You will go hunting and fishing with me. You will throw the ball with me. You will play sports. You will accomplish anything you want

“You will be Spencer, not a diagnosis; and you will continue to teach us all that anything is possible with Down syndrome.”

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Emese Graham
Health Expert
Emese believes women's health, mental health, and spiritual health really matter, so she jumps at the chance to bring those conversations to light. In her spare time, Emese enjoys finding challenging workout videos on Youtube (because gyms are hard for introverts), and she's all about getting creative in the kitchen and making recipes a little different every time - who needs measuring cups?

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