Mom and daughter take on stigma against Down syndrome

Despite significant progress in civil rights for people with disabilities, society can still perpetuate harmful stigmas and stereotypes against people with Down syndrome. This past April, a mother and daughter took on those stigmas in a heartfelt video. Lily is a 6th grader with Down syndrome, and the video offers a brief window into her life, along with her mother, Natalie.

Lily states that she believes, “[Down syndrome] makes me unique, brave, and beautiful.” She has faced frustrations, but emphasizes that she “feels pretty resilient because I always stand up for myself.”

Natalie states, “If people could learn one thing from our story, I would just say, please don’t feel sorry for us. Our life has been so blessed because we have Lily in it.”

We live in a time where pregnant women can tell if the baby they are carrying has Down syndrome using prenatal testing. Currently, it is estimated that 60-90% of the women who find out they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy, according to an article by the University of South Carolina published in the medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis.

There are many reasons a woman may choose to terminate a pregnancy when there is a diagnosis of Down syndrome, ranging from possible health complications, to a lack of understanding and education around what it means to have a child with Down syndrome, and the stigma against Down syndrome that still exists in today’s society.

Videos such as Lily and Natalie’s are important because they offer a glimpse into a joyful life, and can help deconstruct societal fear of having children with Down syndrome.

The video was created in partnership with T.J.Maxx, and is available below.

This video may begin with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of Rooted in Rights.

Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.