Tags: Infant & Baby, Maternity
Hearing the news that she was pregnant again was wonderful for local Indianapolis photographer Sierra Hoffman. The information she received next caught her off guard.
"I was shocked to learn our son had Down syndrome," Hoffman said. "My husband and I were scared. We didn't know anything about the diagnosis."
According to Down Syndrome Indiana, Down syndrome develops at conception. It's the most common genetic condition, occurring in one of every 800 to 1,000 births, or 5,000 births per year in the U.S.
Hoffman's son, Rush, was born Nov. 16. The family is growing accustomed to this new beginning. Rush is a lot like his 3-year-old brother Remy, she said.
"It's a big misconception that raising a child with Down syndrome is hard. It's quite typical, my perception has changed completely," Hoffman said. "It's a big adjustment but more of an emotional one than anything else."
Hoffman confessed she no longer sweats the small stuff. Her concerns are about Rush's health, being a good parent and ensuring he reaches his full potential. The couple is excited to hear Rush's first word and to see him crawl.
She advises mothers in her position to not focus on the diagnosis because it can begin to overshadow the simplest truths.
"A new baby with Down syndrome is simply just a baby, one who needs the unconditional love and affection you'd give any child. Rush may have Down syndrome, but that does not define him. He is simply a beautiful baby boy—my baby boy. I couldn't be more grateful," Hoffman said.
Who knew that being a mother meant your entire schedule had to be revamped for the sake of your kids? Art director and mom of two, Heather Lipe, is experiencing this exciting ride up close and personal.
"I have no time between juggling the two of them. You'd think this wouldn't be a shock because my husband and I have done this before," she laughs. "It's a blessing in every way."
Kenzington "Kenzi" is her daughter of two months, while Nixon "Mama's Big Helper" is 2-years-old.
According to Lipe her schedule consists of the following:
5:00-5:30 a.m. Wake up, feed Baby Kenzi and put her to back to sleep
6:00-7:30 a.m. Workout, quiet time and shower
7:30-8:00 a.m. Nixon wakes up. I dress and feed him breakfast
8:30 a.m. Kenzi gets up for the day, feed her again
9:00 a.m. Bath time for Kenzi and Nixon helps
9:30 a.m. Independent play for Nixon, Kenzi goes in the swing and I put together the diaper bag and extra clothes for the day
10:00-11:30 a.m. Take Nixon to MyGym for a fitness class, Kenzi naps
11:30-12:30 a.m. Feed Kenzi and feed Nixon lunch
That is only half the day. Lipe says every time she gets the schedule down Kenzi changes it up on her. One of the many joys of motherhood, she said.
"Time revolves around my kids and I wouldn't have it any other way. You'll be amazed at how much sleep you can operate on," Lipe said.
She describes herself as blessed in every way and becomes speechless when explaining her love for her children.
"Motherhood is a miracle in and of itself," Lipe said. "It's incredible and hard to put into words. Each day goes by fast. I'm trying to cherish each moment."
Three's A Charm
"I wanted healthy kids. Can't say I won't always wonder what it would have been like to have a daughter, but I think my boys will have an amazing bond and I'm happy with what I have," said mother Jennifer Chan, marketing communications for Edwards Dental Center.
Chan is mother to three young boys Lucas (7), Alden (4) and Bennett (12 weeks). She said raising the opposite sex is interesting, there is never a dull moment.
The crescendo is when she is making dinner. The phone is ringing, the boys are fighting over the Leapster game and the baby is crying because he is hungry and/or tired. Typically this happens all at once.
"Remain calm and carry on is a good motto. I find when my kids are wound-up and screaming, elevating my voice only makes it worse," Chan said. "Letting them know calmly what I expect and moving on with our day seems to be the strategy that works best."
According to Chan parenting three sons is challenging since each child is different in regards to personality and understanding. Lucas is inquisitive, Alden is the prankster and Bennett is a love-bug.
"It's amazing that you remember them so vividly and so quickly they have their own personality, thoughts and [are] discovering the world for themselves. I'm raising them to not only be good boys, but good men, husbands and fathers," Chan said.