A Baby Boy! Feedback Friday...

One of my son's previous teachers contacted me last month about a frame. She mentioned that she was about to deliver her second child any day. Before we communicated again, I heard through a mutual friend that she had indeed delivered a son and that he was born with Down's Syndrome (a diagnosis they were unaware of until birth). The mother had sent out an email explaining the situation to her friends and colleagues soon after birth.

When it was time to contact the mom I was conflicted about what to say to her. I knew I would congratulate her on the birth of her son, but should I also mention the diagnosis? How would I do it and what words would I use? My intent was to congratulate her and maybe acknowledge the diagnosis without sounding like I was sorry, because it isn't like a disease. This child could become the joy of her life.

Is it better to let her tell me personally before mentioning it? Is it even any of my business to worry about???

So, it's Feedback Friday...

What would you do?


  1. Congratulate her. It's not your business- she has enough going on right now without worrying about your feelings of how to react to her news.

  2. Congratulate her like you would anyone else who has just had a baby. You don't have to do more, but don't do less. And leave the feedback on medical diagnosis stuff for her doctor. Lots of Downs babies grow up to be loving members of there family's lives and can be productive in society. Hope for the best for them.

  3. I never know who to acknowledge other people's struggles if I'm not close to them. I'm a big chicken when it comes to awkward situations. I worry that if I acknowledge that I know, then they will think everyone is talking about them. In this case, I would congratulate her on the new baby.

  4. Awww. This is definitely a delicate matter. I think I would treat her like any other new mom... congratulate her, give a gift, and be really excited for her. The birth of a child is still something to celebrate despite imperfections. Knowing that she may be grieving, I would accept her baby with joy and excitement as I would any other friend's newborn in hopes it would make it easier for her to enjoy him and ease her disappointment.

    I have a friend who also has a child with DS. Her daughter is absolutely adorable and so so sweet! If given the opportunity I might have shared my positive experience with her.

    - Julie from Ten51 Design

  5. I would do all of the above, but If inclined and since you already have a friendly relationship with her, I don't see anything wrong or hurtful to acknowledge that you understand that the infant may have challenges to overcome, and that you have confidence that the family will be up for the challenges, and look forward to meeting the beautiful newcomer. She may be relieved that there are friends out there ready to support her if she wants it.

  6. Congratulate her on the birth of her beautiful son. As the mother of a special needs child I liked that people focused on my son and the wonderful new being we had in our lives and not the struggles that will come. All children have struggles in life, these will just be different. Enjoy the joy of a new baby with her.

  7. Definitely Congratulate her! I'd wait until she tells you personally about the downs syndrome. My uncle has Downs Syndrome, although it can cause some difficulties he is unbelievably loving, but always nicks the last sausage when we go round for breakfast, haha. Just share the excitement with her and offer support if she needs it.
    Beth xox

  8. My husband´s cousin had a baby with DS two years ago. I congratulated her from the bottom of my heart, and treated her cute little Stella just like I´d have treated any other child, too. Because that´s what she is.
    Later, when we had had more time, and all the kids were asleep, came the struggling and crying part, but that´s just because we were really close.
    One of my twins had been (falsely...) diagnosed with DS during pregnancy, and I figured that pity, or even constant commentaries would be the very last thing I wanted off anybody. I pitied myself enough, and what I needed most was the confirmation that this is - as you pointed out - not a tradgedy, but could be the joy of my life.

  9. I'm sure having a baby with Downs Syndrome comes with some anxiety. You're excited, but like others have echoed above, you're not sure (at birth) what special needs the baby will have or not have. I'm sure it causes stress and emotions.

    So I'd go with the majority here. Congratulate them, give them a gift or do whatever you'd normally do. Enjoy a new baby's life. And wait for her to open up to you.

  10. I have a baby girl with DiGeorge Syndrome so I am aware of how this mother feels. I am not sure if you are a Christian or not but when I am faced with a difficult decision as this one, I turn to my Father in Heaven and as that he would tell me what to say or give me the words. You may be able to really bless this woman with your words and thoughts. I had many people who asked about my daughter and it helped me to just talk about it. Every person is different and she may or may not want to talk about it but sometimes when you least expect it you can really touch someone with kind words of encouragement. I will pray that God leads you to the right decision.

  11. I would start with all the things you are familiar with. How's the baby sleeping? When's the last time you've slept? Normal empathetic lend an ear stuff.

    Be sure you mean it, though.

    If you listen to the normal stuff, truly listen, you might be already doing more than so many people who are afraid of talking to her and are inadvertently shunning her.

    Then, if she decides to open up and share anything more, you are already listening and open to it. Unless you know her well, her baby's health and growth are personal. Even if you do know her well, she might be still uncomfortable finding the words to talk about it. And, if she has found those words, she might be tired of talking about it.

    Let's face it, as a new mom, she's exhausted.
    Emotionally. Physically.

    You know that that's like!
    Start there :)

  12. If it were me, I would simply congratulate her.
    It's a new baby, a new life. I think congratulations are definitely in order.

    Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend!

  13. Thanks lot for this useful article, nice post

  14. I'd go with a simple Congratulations on your new addition type of message. Like the majority of responders, I'd treat it like I would any other birth.

  15. Put me on the Congrats and that's all list.

    I worked for 12 years with people who were born with developmental disabilites. Don't mean to stero type but 100% of the DS people I worked with were the sweetest EVER. Prior to this work I had always heard that DS people only lived to be 12-18 yrs. This is false. I'm friends with lots of 40-60 year olds.


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