Love and Ability

This is the sixth and final essay in the series titled Becoming Mami, a new generation of Latinas speak on childbirth, babies and acceptance. You can find links to the other stories in the introduction.

Eliana Tardio's children

eliana tardioBy Eliana Tardio

After work, I ran to the doctor’s office. I was all excited about watching my child through the ultrasound. When the doctor covered my tummy with the chilly stuff, I started to cry, the excitement overtook me.

The doctor started going around the baby, showing me his face, his nose, his eyes and suddenly something unexpected came to the screen: a short neck with some other features of Down syndrome.

It was very weird, he didn’t say a word at that moment, but I heard the diagnosis in my mind “Down syndrome.”

I was devastated, asking him: Why? He held my hand and told me that it could be a mistake, but I already knew it for sure that my baby would be born with Down syndrome.

Love Arrives

I tried to ignore my feelings the following three months, but it was impossible to not to think about it, all those faces of other children with Down syndrome that I had seen once in my life, were going around and around my mind.

I was trying to avoid the call of sadness that a mother goes through when she is told her perfect child has a disability, but when Emir was almost ready to be born, I decided to face the possibility and I took the decision that change his life forever: I came to United States, asking God to guide my steps to give him the opportunity to have a good life.

Emir was born on April 29th, 2004. He was born with Down syndrome.

I will never forget the day they placed him in my tummy and through those beautiful blue eyes I got the most amazing teaching of my life: “Real love.”

Becoming a mother has taken me to a new and unknown world.  A world highly limited by doctors, but full of hope from a mother’s eyes.

Second child with Down syndrome

Ayelen came three years after. I was not expecting to have a second child with Down syndrome, and actually I didn’t know it could happen again. I didn’t know she was coming with Down syndrome, actually, I didn’t want to know.. I rejected several times the suggestions from the doctors to find out during my pregnancy, and I kept firm on my decision of giving my son his perfect sister

It has been 4 years now, and every time I go back to that moment I learned she had Down syndrome, I feel one more time the desperation and confusion of that moment. For a couple days I remember living like in a dream, looking around with no reactions and just repeating one time after another “Sorry.” It was supposed to be the most perfect gift to my son and everything went wrong.

But, one day I woke up with sunshine in my eyes and looked around to find a little pink crib, Ayelen was there, sleeping with a beautiful smile painted on her face. That was all that I needed to wake up from my depression and hold my daughter, while promising her to be the best mom ever.

Questions and Answers

It’s very normal for us to get people’s attention wherever we are but I have also learned to choose, and I always take the smiles, and appreciate the nice way people enjoy the contribution of my children in the world. They are here to remind people how easy it is to find happiness in every step and how important it is to enjoy the journey.

People always ask me two questions:

I am getting better and better on responding: Now I can tell from the humbleness of my heart, that they are not twins and that God doesn’t make mistakes.

Sometimes people do associate disability with sadness or disappointment. It’s not easy at the beginning but love is a great feeling that grows along with our children. “Happiness” is a personal choice, and having children with special needs gives me an opportunity to find a mission and reason for life.

Our message is really simple “See First The Child” Our kids with Down syndrome are children first and have different abilities. They grow and become great people for their communities and the only thing we ask for is respect.

Like everybody else, I used to believe that having children with special needs is a permanent giving experience, but after almost seven years, I can say I have gotten more than I ever expected in my life. It could be called the miracle of Love, or just the opportunity of finding out how amazing every soul is, as a perfect creation of God, no matter what is the shape of their eyes. I have learned to love unconditionally, to find prize and happiness at every step, and to evolve as a human being.

Please educate yourself and educate your children about Down syndrome and other different abilities. Disability is natural, and kids with disabilities not only receive from their communities, but they also give valuable lessons of determination and love.

I am grateful for kids for bringing me to a different understanding of compassion and passion for life. Thanks to them, I found out the real meaning of a “challenge,” not only as a hard time, but a great opportunity to demonstrate that “Everything is possible with love.”

Eliana Tardio is a public relations and marketing professional, who is an advocate for people with Down Syndrome. Her advocacy work has been nationally recognized. She runs a popular online support network and blogs on her personal site, Eliana Tardio, and at Blogs de Mamás. Eliana is a native of Bolivia.

 

Share, por favor!

By Contributor on June 11, 2011 · Posted in the habla habla

16 Comments | Post Comment

Eliana Tardio says:

Thanks a lot, it has been a great experience to share my story through the tikitiki :)
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

suzanne mateus says:

Eliana, You spoke from the heart. What a sweet post. You have reminded us to learn more about others. This is definitely something I plan on doing for myself and my daughter. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

What a great picture of your babies!
Suzanne
suzanne mateus´s last [fabulousness] ..How much does it “cost” to become multilingual

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Thanks Suzanne :) have a great weekend with your daughter
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Becoming Mami: A New Generation Speaks says:

[...] Eliana Tardio is raising two children with Down syndrome. A difficult situation has turned into a life’s mission and taught her more about love and compassion than anything else ever could have. [...]

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Niki says:

Thank you Eliana for sharing your experience and insight. Your story touches me because I too have a daughter with special needs. I have 2 year old twin daughters and one of them, Jada, had a stroke at birth and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Jada is making progress at her own pace. She just learned to crawl. She isn’t talking or walking yet. She is in physical therapy & we have seen a multitude of specialists. Confronting the ‘unknown’ has been scary and stressful. On the other hand, we have learned to celebrate at every bit of progress no matter how small. Jada is such a joy and is the happiest child you could meet. I know God has blessed us and will equip us with what we need for this journey. Thanks again for sharing & inspiring!

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

That’s right Niki, having a child with special needs is like opening our minds to a new world, kind different, but amazingly inspiring. Every progress is important and that’s why our lives become a permanent celebration :) Enjoy her a lot :)she’s a gift!
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Abuelita says:

Eliana (te llamas igual que una de mis nietas),recibe un abrazo y que Dios en su infinita bondad te de mucha salud para seguir adelante con esas 2 bendiciones que tienes.

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Gracias Abuelita :)

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá says:

You are an amazing person Eliana!. I have tears in my eyes just from reading your story. I think you have raised your kids in the most wonderful way, you can see the love and happiness in their smiles!.

I totally agree with you about teaching our kids about Down Syndrome so they see the child instead of judge or discriminate based on the shape of the eyes.

*virtual hugs*
Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá´s last [fabulousness] ..Boba Baby Carrier Reseña

Posted on June 11th, 2011

yvonneinla says:

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Your kids are lucky to have you.

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Astra says:

Beautiful. As always!

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Thanks Maybelline, hope we can meet one day so our children can play and have fun togheter, I know Ayelen would fall in love with your little one :) he’s so cute :)
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Thank you for reading our story, happy weekend :)
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Thanks Astra :) lot of kisses for Mia and the upcoming little brother or sister :)
Eliana Tardio´s last [fabulousness] ..Modelo de Portada

Posted on June 11th, 2011

Saray says:

Eliana, I have tears running down my face. I couldn’t agree more with all you wrote. Thanks for sharing your story and as you said God makes no mistakes and happiness is a choice.

Posted on June 15th, 2011

Eliana Tardio says:

Thank you for stopping by to read it Saray, have a great day!

Posted on June 16th, 2011