Model Amanda Booth is a mom like any other mom. She gave birth to her son, Micah, at a hospital despite having originally planned a home birth. After his birth, Booth discovered Micah was born with Down Syndrome.
In an essay, Booth wrote about her experience parenting Micah–and trying to get proper medical support without overly medicating him or steering him in the wrong direction. She also mentioned why she turned to Instagram for support, writing:
“A few months after settling into our new roles as parents to a child with special needs, we started our social media outreach. Mainly because I had found so much comfort in seeing other little ones flourish, I felt a responsibility to be that for other people. It started in those first few months when I would be quietly nursing Micah, allowing my mind to wander.
I was very unfamiliar with Down Syndrome, and the internet can be a scary place, so I used Instagram as a platform for information. I figured what better way to learn about anything than from a person directly? I instantly fell in love with the babies I was seeing, the encouraging parents, and the love they were sharing. I needed to be a part of that. I wasn’t scared of the reactions people would have, sharing our story wasn’t for them, but for the people who needed it, and I knew they’d find us. That didn’t mean my stomach didn’t flip with the first trolls I encountered. I wept for my son, but I am fully aware of the battles he may face, and it just brought that reality to my doorstep a little sooner than I had anticipated. So, good! I needed some practice before he was old enough to hear the negativity, so I can know how to raise him to be greater than that. To walk this earth with a full heart, having compassion for people who don’t understand him, and the courage to show them anyway.”
Besides support, however, Booth wanted to de-stigmatize Down Syndrome, stating:
“There’s a lot of antiquated information about Down Syndrome out there, and people need to know the truth. The termination rate with prenatal testing is so staggering, and I know that if people could see a glimpse of the life they could have, it might decrease. Like I mentioned earlier, we personally decided not to do any genetic screening.
That being said, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation has created a new pamphlet for prenatal testing, with honest truths detailing the new realities of Down Syndrome (that no one can know what the future holds for any baby; that what’s most important is that families lead happy lives). I know that we are all different, and the majority of people will screen and that’s fair—all I’m trying to do is make people aware, give them a hand to walk with, a shoulder to borrow, and clear eyes to see the possibilities of this life.”
Her words are inspiring–and illustrate that people are more than their disabilities, special needs, and/or medical illnesses. Many times, people hear a label, and only think about that label, as opposed to the full picture, or in this case, the full person, behind it.
Check out her Instagram here: