Being born into large families has strongly shaped the life perspectives of Carmen and Guillermo, parents from the northern Spanish city of La Coruña. Carmen has three brothers while Guillermo has a healthy eight.
Together, they are convinced of the enormous benefits of growing up in large families. So much is learnt – from being altruistic, to sharing ones belonging with other family members, tolerance, and coping with complaints and teasing by brothers and sisters.
In short, coming from a large family helps children fit into society better later in life and better develop sensitivity and certain values.
The birth of their first child Guillermo
Carmen and Guillermo are a young couple, and have followed in their parents footsteps. They have three children: Guillermo 5 years, Carmen, 3 years and Catalina, 11 months.
The birth of their first child was special. Guillermo has down's syndrome, a condition that was initially met by his young parents with surprise and bewilderment. Not only was it unexpected, but they had no idea what kind of life their little Guillermo had in front of him. Would he be as happy as others, or would he suffer?
Down's syndrome, in simple terms, it is a genetic anomaly. Children with Down's syndrome demonstrate to different degrees a reduction in motor and language skills ranging from mild to severe. They also mature emotionally, socially and intellectually more slowly. Like any couple finding themselves in this situation, Carmen and Guillermo had many thoughts and worries. Their concerns ranged from fears of being cut off from the rest of the world, feelings that nothing would ever be the same again and of being shunned by others.
But undoubtedly being born into large families has been a great comfort. Because after their initial fears, the young couple fortified themselves and accepted the birth with joy and conviction. They knew that their anxieties only came from the fear of the unknown.
Raising a child with Down's syndrome: the challenges and satisfactions
Since that day, their lives really have changed. Guillermo brought home joy, cohesion, play, dialogue, love. But above all, he taught his parents the most important thing: to know how to always look ahead.
Of course, it's not always easy. The small Guillermo requires care, a good dose of patience in some cases, special attention, but the love and smiles he gives his parents in return makes the effort worth it.
Having a Down child is really something special for a family. It brings great joy and closeness between children and parents. You become more empathetic, sensitive and tolerant towards others. But above all, more balanced, because you learn to understand what are the real problems and difficulties in life.
So what is the secret to successfully raising a child with Down's syndrome?
The experts agree that the most important thing is love! A person with Down's syndrome is above all a person like anyone else – for their development they need attention, kindness, affection, education in values and proper social relationships like everyone else. Carmen and Guillermo argue that having a child with Down's syndrome has brought their family closer together. Their other children are less selfish and more empathetic and better understand that their brother has a problem. So then, it’s appropriate to say that the rewards have outweighed the sacrifices.
World Down's Syndrome Day
The World Down's Syndrome Day is a yearly reminder to commit to the struggle against prejudice and promote a greater culture of diversity and integration. For the differently-abled, well-being is represented mainly by greater social and employment integration.
A wonderful advertisement that touched the whole web highlights this point. To learn more, see our article "Dear future mother ..." and check out the commercial!
Note: Article reworked freely by La Revista de las Familias Numerosas , 2015