Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society


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Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society

668 US-51 Suite C
Ridgeland, MS 39157
601-385-DOWN (3696)

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Wilkerson, Caroline Michele

It was the spring of 2001 when Bob and I found out that not only were we expecting, but that I was carrying twins. It was an exciting, but frightening, time in our lives. I had trouble carrying the pregnancies of our older two sons to term. Doctors recommended we “reduce” this pregnancy by one to increase our chances of a successful pregnancy. That was not an option for us; after being told years earlier that we would be unable to conceive again, we knew that these children were gifts from God.


The pregnancy was not without complications and I spent months on bed rest praying for healthy babies. My maternal-fetal specialist did two ultrasounds each week, and was reassuring that all looked fine. Then, on October 9th, our life’s journey took an unexpected detour. Born just over six weeks early, the babies were examined and deemed to be premature, but otherwise, perfect. Because of my age, while still in the delivery room, I asked for reassurance “Do either of them have Down syndrome?” My question met with a resounding “No, they look great!”. The wall of self-protection I had built around myself just in case the answer had been different came tumbling down. I was on top of the world!

I am convinced that God wants all of us to be more like children with Down syndrome.

It was the following day after I saw Caroline without the cap she had worn to keep her temp up, without the CPAP tube that had run across her face to help with breathing, and with her eyes open for the first time, that I saw what looked like traits of Down syndrome. Although I didn’t show it, I honestly felt like I couldn’t breathe when the nurse confirmed that they suspected the diagnosis. It was not that I did not want her or love her. In fact, the opposite was true – because of my love for Caroline, I could not bear the thought that she may struggle. Bob and I thought we were educated people, and even though he is a physician, neither of us felt equipped to help her.

There wasn’t a CMDSS at the time or a New Parent Guide that told how to help Caroline. This led to uncertainty, which led to an abundance of fear. Bob and I are Christians and know that the Bible tells us to turn over our worries to God, but I’ll be honest, I struggled with this. I was consumed with worry about the unknown struggles she could face. What I did know and what held me together in the early days is the fact that I know that God doesn’t make mistakes and He intended for Caroline to have Down syndrome and that her life would have great purpose. The life scripture Bob and I chose for Caroline when we dedicated her life to God is Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

If you are reading this reflection of my life with Caroline and you are the parent of a newborn who is afraid of the future, I wish your life could be fast-forwarded for just a few months. I promise you will see that your child will be more like his or her peers than unlike them. Caroline is smart, beautiful, and funny (the girl LOVES to tell knock-knock jokes). She enjoys ballet, cheer, snow skiing, tubing, reading, laughing, and most anything any other child enjoys. She DOES, however, abhor being outside in the sweltering heat, as most southern divas do! Caroline loves completely no matter the color of your skin, sexual orientation or religious affiliation, forgives easily, cares deeply about others, and will immediately stop whatever she is doing to pray for someone in need. She feels a closeness to God that is hard to explain. In fact, I am convinced that God wants all of us to be more like children with Down syndrome.

With Caroline’s birth, God sent our life on a different path – not a bad path, just a different path. Yes, she has Down syndrome, but she is SO MUCH MORE than that. She has blessed our lives and made us appreciate everything about life more than we ever could have without her influence. Every day, I am so thankful to be her mother. You will see this with your own baby – you are in for untold blessings and a wonderful adventure.

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