** taken from The Jerome Lejeune Foundation website which has a wealth of information on Downs Syndrome**
Ever since Eléonore was born 24 years ago, people have often asked me: “But why? Did you not know you were carrying a child with Down Syndrome? Did they not do an amniocentesis test?” At the start, I’d reply, “No, I didn’t know”. Then I started adding, “I didn’t know and it’s just as well. If I had found out when I was pregnant, I would have probably got scared and made the biggest mistake of my life.”
24 years ago, I didn’t know anything about Down Syndrome; just preconceptions, mostly horrendous ones, thoughts of anxiety, shame and dislike. I would have probably terminated the pregnancy. Once the initial shock about the handicap had passed, Eléonore revealed a certain strength and capacity for tolerance in us, her parents, which we totally disregarded beforehand.
Today, we know how much Eléonore has enriched us by her difference, how much she brings to us through her radiance and how happy she is to be alive. Today, we are aware of the magnitude of our ignorance 24 years ago and more than ever, we sigh:
“How lucky we were to not know that this stranger inside me had Down Syndrome”.
Maryse Laloux, 2009