Parents Of Kids With Down Syndrome Are Banding Together To Get This Tattoo

“The symbol unites us all.”

A group of about 20 moms of kids with Down syndrome got together during a Ruby's Rainbow retreat in Austin, Texas — and formed a very special bond. Ruby's Rainbow is an organization that creates awareness for people with Down syndrome and offers them educational opportunities. So, the moms already had a lot in common before they met. But thanks to Mica May, they added another thing to the list after they met in person — and it's permanently inked on their bodies. 

May is a designer and mother of three. Her oldest, Jackson, was born with Down syndrome, a genetic chromosome 21 disorder that can cause developmental and intellectual delays. While on the retreat, the moms enjoyed sharing their stories about raising kids with the condition and encouraging one another. They felt excited and empowered to be surrounded by each other. 

"We were hanging out. There was so much excitement and empowerment in finding each other and now meeting in real life," May told The Mighty. "It was so life-giving."

At some point, the idea of getting matching tattoos to celebrate their friendship popped up in the discussion. 

"I mentioned sort of jokingly that I wasn't about to get a tattoo except for this one design I've had a recurring dream about for several years and as I began to explain what it looked like —  three black arrows on my arm — people got quiet and suddenly everyone was like YES!! This is it!! We have to make this our design!" May wrote on Instagram. "I had never really put the tattoo in my dream together with Down syndrome and definitely never imagined it as an epic group tattoo, but that evening a new thing that was so much bigger than my dream was born." 

The design would commemorate their friendship, but could also symbolize Trisomy 21, which is another name for Down syndrome.

"The 3 arrows symbolize the three 21st chromosomes and how we rise up and move forward," May wrote. "We fly the highest after we have been pulled back and stretched, sometimes even more we think we can bear." 

May and several other moms got together to get the tattoo, but they had no idea how many others would, too. 

After other parents with kids with Down syndrome heard about the tattoo, more than 260 in California decided they wanted to join. They reached out to May and Heather Avis, author of The Lucky Few asking if they could join. Of course, they said "yes."

"We felt the same connection they did," Rosalinda Gray, one of the moms, told the Mighty. "The symbol unites us all." 

Gray's husband is a tattoo artist, so he inked Rosalinda and others interested. The tattoos have become so popular, he's booked until August with appointments made by other moms, dads, and family members of someone with Down syndrome. The tattoo has become a movement that unites people who love someone with the condition. 

"I'm over the moon to see how this image and message has captured the hearts of so many," May wrote on Instagram. 

Scroll through to see more proud parents sporting their new tattoos.

(H/T: The Mighty)

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