New Parents

hands2Welcome and congratulations on the birth of your new baby! We hope we can help you and your family to celebrate and welcome your son or daughter.

The birth of a baby is an exciting and happy time for the whole family. When the diagnosis of Down syndrome is made it can be a great shock.  We understand that your life is no longer following the road you expected.  You are not alone.  We hope we can help you to celebrate your baby’s life.

You may experience a whole range of emotions.  The feelings of joy at having a new baby may be mixed with uncertainty, shock, disappointment, anger, and sometimes fear for the future.  This may be a stressful time for parents and their families not knowing what to expect for their child and what to expect from themselves.  You are not alone. We are here to support you at this time.

Our aim is to help babies with Down syndrome develop and achieve their potential and as they grow to make their own futures as bright and independent as possible by providing them with education, support and friendship every step of the way.  Down Syndrome Ireland promotes inclusion, equality and choices for people with Down syndrome and their families.

Feelings and Reactions

Most of us look forward to the birth of our baby.  We have dreams and plans for the future.  We may not articulate these to anybody including our partner. When the diagnosis of Down syndrome is made it may end all these dreams in an instant.

This diagnosis may affect us in many ways, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  It can be a very difficult time when feelings are very confused.  You may not feel like celebrating.  Negative feelings are not a sign of you rejecting your baby. Negative feelings are about Down syndrome not about your new baby. These feelings are normal and a healthy reaction to the news you have just received.

Quotes from parents

“I thought they must have mixed my baby up with someone else’s”

“I was too young for a baby with Down syndrome”

“I just took her home and treated her in the same way as all my other children”

Sometimes parents find it difficult to help each other.  You are both coming to this new situation from different places and may have difficulty expressing your true feelings in an effort to protect each other.  If you find yourself in this situation help is available.

Telling others

Sharing the news with family and friends may be difficult.  You will know when and how it is best to tell other people.  Sometimes you need to tell close friends or family for support and comfort.  People will follow your lead. If you are open, honest and positive about Down syndrome, they will be too. Sometimes family, friends and people you meet say very insensitive and hurtful things. Try to ignore these comments as they are often based on misunderstandings. Try to remember that it’s their lack of understanding that may prevent them from interacting and congratulating you on your baby.

Further Reading

  • The New Parent Booklet (a publication by Down Syndrome Ireland. It is available free of charge  from the National Office)
  • Down Syndrome–The First 18 Months’ Video / DVD:  Will Schermerhorn
  • Babies with Down syndrome – A New Parents Guide–Stray-Gynbdersen  (ISBN NO 0933149646)
  • A Minor Adjustment – Andy Merriman  (ISBN NO 033036748X)



Common Questions about Down Syndrome