Loving My ‘Imperfect’ Child

Photo: Courtesy of Dawn Koh

Loving My ‘Imperfect’ Child

Part 1 of a 4-part Inspirational Mums Series

By Dawn Koh | 28 May 2021

This is the first of a 4-part series by Focus on the Family Singapore to shine the spotlight on mums, and the different ways they express love to their families and juggle this thing called life.

Let’s hear from Dawn Koh, mum of 2 and blogger at Letters to Daniel.

I’m a full-time working mum to two boys, David and Daniel, who are 5 and 3 years old respectively. My younger son Daniel has Down Syndrome.

Thanks to my very supportive husband and close-knit family, I’ve never felt alone in my journey of motherhood. However, I do remember feeling helpless when I learnt that my baby may have Down Syndrome. It was during my first trimester and my gynae was doing an ultrasound to check on the foetus when he discovered a thick fold of skin behind the foetus’ neck. This is usually a sign of chromosomal abnormality.

We sought a second opinion from another gynae, who ran a more detailed scan – the nuchal fold turned out to be 9.8mm thick versus the average of <1mm. He told us that based on his experience, there is more than a 99% chance that our baby will have some form of chromosomal abnormality. He strongly recommended that we abort the baby due to the “poor quality” of life that the baby will have.

While we were devastated to know that our baby was not going to be “normal”, we knew, due to our faith, that abortion was never going to be an option.

Mothers will always love their children, no matter how “imperfect” their children may seem.

My greatest fear was that I didn’t know if I could love my baby with Down Syndrome. It fuelled thoughts like: what’s the point of giving birth to a child whom I cannot love? Fast forward three years, I’m bursting with love for Daniel! He is the absolute joy of our family. Because of what I’ve experienced, I can confidently say that mothers will always love their children, no matter how “imperfect” their children may seem.

After giving birth to Daniel, I found myself wanting to be a voice for the Down Syndrome community. There is a severe lack of understanding about the condition and what people with DS can achieve. There are so many people with DS who are living independent, fulfilling lives and society needs to be aware of it!

This is why I started a Facebook/Instagram blog to share Daniel’s journey as well as updates about the DS community. I hope to reach out to parents who have received a prenatal diagnosis of DS and encourage them not to give up on their baby.

So to all mums out there, self-care is very important. Do make sure you take time off from kids to do something that you enjoy. Learn to go with the flow so that when things don’t turn out the way we expect, we don’t get frustrated!

Also, let’s not compare our kids with other children, because every child is unique and has different learning paths. Motherhood is a journey of discovering who your child is and if we put aside our own expectations of them, we will enjoy the journey more!

© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.


Read other stories in this series: Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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