Mom to Nicole – By Michelle Bowen

Receiving the news…
The moment Nicole was placed on my stomach after her birth, I knew. I was fortunate enough to have known a few children with Down syndrome, and I just saw it on her face. When I look back and think about it, I wasn’t surprised or sad. My husband took a lot longer to come around. I think Nicole was three before he could talk about it. They confirmed the diagnosis three days later. Our doctors were so nice, and I was so lucky not to have a bad experience.

Why I Spread Down Syndrome Awareness…
I feel it is important to spread awareness because there are so many people that have never met someone with Down syndrome. They only know what they have heard and have not experienced it. I am a hairstylist, and I educate people on a daily basis. I love it. I could talk about Nicole all day long. I always say the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask while continuing to believe the wrong information.  Every day I hear people respond, “I didn’t know that” when it comes to Down syndrome.

About My Nicole…
My favorite part of Nicole is her laugh and her smile. She makes me smile and laugh every day. She can be so silly but also so loving. I love hearing “I love you, Mom” all day long. She is so stubborn and hard headed, and I know that is going to help her achieve whatever she puts her mind to.

Nicole is also an awesome dancer. She has been taking dance for eight years, and she loves it. At her recital a few years ago, I watched from the audience and beamed with pride. When she was on stage performing no one could tell she was different, because she was just as skilled as her friends.  I loved that, and it was a very proud moment.

If I Had One Thing to Share…
Some thing I want parents just finding out about their sweet baby to know is even though things seem like they will never be “normal”  and Down syndrome will always be a factor…that is not true.  They are just your daughter/son, and their Down syndrome doesn’t matter.  I cried once thinking of all the things that Nicole would not be able to do, but she has proved me wrong and does so much more.  Today, she is a typical hormonal teenager who has crushes on boys, loves to get dressed up, loves to shop and loves to dance and sing! She loves the things she CAN do, and so do I.