Monday was the two-year anniversary of mom Christy Proctor's discovery that her unborn daughter, Isabella Grace, had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. After hearing the news, Proctor created a Facebook page in Isabella Grace's name to "encourage others that Down syndrome isn't a bad thing."
To honor the two-year anniversary, Proctor posted an image of Isabella in the womb to Facebook. She also described how she felt on that fateful day, and on the days following.
"I spent much of my remaining pregnancy in worry, fear of the unknown and probably every of emotion you can think of," Proctor wrote on Facebook. "It was a very sad time for me."
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States every year. The process can be a difficult one. Parents know their child will be facing an uphill battle as they grow older, and may have to fight the stigma associated with Down syndrome.
But Proctor says she hopes that other moms and dads of children with disabilities know that there's something beautiful to be shared as well.
"As hard as it may be to do, focus on your exciting news of simply having a baby! What a joyful celebration," she wrote. "It is a time for you to fall in love with a child you've not even met yet. It's a time to prepare a nursery and pick out names. It's a time to be cherished with your family. Everything else will come in time. Enjoy your pregnancy and welcome to the family! You are now one of #theluckyfew."
To help new parents come to terms with a Down syndrome diagnosis and prepare for life with their child going forward, there are organizations waiting in the wings. The Down Syndrome Information Alliance offers parent-to-parent programs that match new parents with mentors. And the National Down Syndrome Society has 375 local affiliates around the U.S. that offer workshops and other social activities for parents.