Sweet Mallory | Murfreesboro Baby Photographer | Nashville Baby Photographer

Down syndrome Awareness Day was Thursday and I really wanted to post this on that day, but things piled up and it just didn’t happen :(. Nevertheless, I still want to acknowledge DSA day with this post of sweet Mallory.

Mallory and her mommy Ashley are from Houston, TX and traveled all the way to Nashville to visit a good friend of their’s and mine. I met Ashley when we were both around 7 months pregnant in Houston while I was visiting our mutual friend Holly. When we met, Ashley and I gushed about the joys and woes of pregnancy and how we were so excited to be having girls! At the time Ashley didn’t know she would be welcoming a very special little girl into the world. It wasn’t until Mallory was born that she found out her special little girl was even more special because she has Down syndrome. I truly believe there are very special parents chosen to raise these truly brilliant and glorious children.

I have such a big heart for special needs children. A dear friend of mine had twin boys prematurely. One is a special needs child with Cerebral palsy , and the other was chosen to be an angel in heaven with our divine creator. I am proud to say I had the privilege of being Joey’s (the beautiful boy with CP) respite caregiver and helping my dear friend after he was born. Thus, the seed for my love of special needs children was planted and began to grown.

So what is down syndrome?

“Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes.  Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.” -ndss.org

One in every 691 babies in the the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition.

Mallory is one of those special babies with Down syndrome. More important Mallory is beautiful, sweet, smart, and she is so very loved. It was truly a privilege that I got the opportunity to photograph this remarkable sweet baby. Thanks Ashley :).

I urge everyone to learn more about Down Syndrome and encourage you to speak with your children about including special needs children on the playground, at birthday parties, and befriending them in general. The best way for our children to learn is by setting an example.

After speaking with Ashley, and getting her to proof read this post (because I didn’t want to come off as offensive or simply a schmuck), she asked me to include one thing near and dear to her heart:

” I would like to ask for adults to also be open to inclusion. So often, adults with special needs are considered to be incapable of many things. I want people to know that children with special needs grow up! I’d like people to use the same level of compassion with an adult as they do with children. In the same sense, I’d like people to keep in mind just because an adult has a special need does not mean they deserve to be treated as a child. It takes understanding and compassion to give others a chance, whether they have a disabillity or not. I too, am now trying to learn from adults with special needs  so that when they day comes for Mallory I will have an understanding of her wants versus my own! Too many times people try to think for adults with special needs, rather then asking!”

 We are all children of God and deserve love and kindness :).

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  • Ashley B - March 25, 2013 - 3:58 pm

    Leslie,

    You did a fantastic job! We love the pictures we have seen so far, and cannot wait to see the rest! I also wanted to thank you for sharing our story. We have definitely been blessed to have Mallory in our lives. She is only 7 months old and already has changed so many views on life for us. Our story is unlike most other parents blessed with a Down syndrome child, like you said, we had no idea that Mallory was bringing along more of her to love with her extra 21st chromosome. We were not expecting our lives to change so quickly with having a little one, and adding special needs to becoming a first time parent seemed scary at first. I have learned that special needs are nothing to be scared of. It is something that takes time to find understanding. I love that in her time with us so far she has changed our outlook on what is important. Quality time with family and friends who love and support Mallory, Matt, and I is all we need to be happy. Mallory has shown us what true unconditional love is, and for that I am eternally grateful to have her in our life. She is a blessing to us in more ways than one. I could not imagine our life with her any other way! I just wanted to thank you for spending the day with us taking such amazing pictures and sharing our story.

    –AshleyReplyCancel

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