If you usually scroll past Facebook statuses, you'll want to pause for a minute to read this one. Carolina Boudet, mother to a baby girl born with Down syndrome, shared a thought-provoking status after she noticed how people reacted to her and her daughter, and it quickly went viral. "I know that if one does not experience it, one does not think about it but words do matter," she wrote. "They can comfort and they can hurt. So just give it a thought . . ."
In an effort to address what is and isn't appropriate to ask parents of children with Down syndrome, Carolina made the status public and said, "Don't tell her mother, 'As she is a Down's baby, she will . . . etc.' No. She is a 4-months old baby who happens to have Down Syndrome. It's not what she IS, it's what she HAS. You wouldn't says 'she's a cancer baby.'" The powerful message has since received such tremendous support — more than 27,000 shares since she posted it on Monday — that Carolina has even started a Facebook page for Louise.
Read Carolina's full message, translated from its original French, below:
Here is my baby girl, Louise. She is 4 months old, has two legs two arms, and one extra chromosome. Please, when you meet a Louise, do not ask her mother, "How come you did not find out during the pregnancy?" Either they did, and the parents took the decision to keep the baby. Or they didn't, and it was surprising enough for them, to talk about it over and over now. Keep in your mind that mothers have a tendency to feel guilty about each and every thing, so a surprising extra chromosome . . . I let you guess.
Don't tell her mother, "It's your baby no matter what." No. It's my baby, period. Plus: "nomatterwhat" is quite an ugly name, I'd rather call her Louise.
Don't tell her mother, "As she is a Down's baby, she will . . . etc." No. She is a 4-months old baby who happens to have Down Syndrome. It's not what she IS, it's what she HAS. You wouldn't says "she's a cancer baby."
Don't say, "They're like this, they're like that." "They" all have their features, their character, their own tastes, their life. "They" are as different between them as you are from you neighbor.
I know that if one does not experience it, one does not think about it but words do matter. They can comfort and they can hurt. So just give it a thought, especially if you're a doctor or nurse of any kind.
I usually do not make my status "public" on Facebook, but this one will be. You can read it and share it as you want. Because each year there are [in France] 500 new "mothers of Louise" that can have a day ruined by those kind of words. I know it's not meant to hurt. But you just need to know.