{31 for 21} It's OK to say you're sorry. I'm sorry too.

In the Ds community there is a common refrain bemoaning people saying sorry when they are told  your newborn or fetus has Down syndrome. Because babies are usually and should be greeted with Congratulations! not pity, sympathy and the dreaded sorry. Of course.

1 day old

New parents who have just brought a child into this world and have had that world answer back sorry are justifiably grieved, I think. Its an acutely painful thing. Personally, I announced Nava's genetic status via her birth announcement. I posted it on facebook and emailed it to my bosses and non-fb folks. In my vast experience with this (n=1) it's a great way to share the news of a kiddo coming with something extra. I got to frame it the way I wanted people to hear it. I didn't have to repeat myself a thousand times. And most importantly, I didn't have to see the looks on people's faces. On friend's faces. Because, to be completely honest, I'm sure some people's reactions would have hurt me (completely unintentionally of course). This way everybody got to process it first then respond on fb or in person without a knee jerk reaction.

5 months old

As a result, I think, I didn't get many sorry comments.

But as I see new parent grapple with being told sorry on message boards and blogs, there always remained a little voice in the back of my mind saying but sorry is kinda right... saying sorry isn't necessarily wrong because...because...because this:

Sorry? Sorry. Yes. I'm sorry too. 
I'm sorry that my child has been born into a world that discriminates against people for the make up of their DNA. 
A world that considers them less than human at times. 
A world where it can be justified to deny them education. 
A world where people feel its ok to video them dancing and put in on youtube to mock. 
A world where people will sling around the word retard cause its such a fun way to put down others! 
A world where some doctors urge abortion of people like them. 
A world of people feeling uncomfortable and even scared of or disgusted with people with an intellectual disability.

These *are* things to feel sorry for folks.

9? months old

But I'm not sorry Nava is Nava. Not sorry at all. 


  1. *sniff* Well said Kells, well said.

    I'm so proud of Nava (and I guess you guys a little bit too) of having such an unapologetic 'here I am! this is me!' way of being - it's a delight!

  2. Great Post! We can't expect people to read our minds or know how we feel about something that might have devastated us before we experienced it. Sending an email and birth announcement is just what we did too and therefore had 'no sorrys' either. A beautiful baby and child you have!

  3. Yes, the "I'm sorry"s and the "Awwwww . . ."s said with obvious pity were painful and unnecessary; I remember them well. That said, I did have one very close friend who put her arms around me as I cried and she said, "I'm sorry," but I knew that she was only sorry for the grief and fear I was feeling, and I appreciated that.

    It's time the world knew that our kids are not tragedies.

  4. @Emma-Thanks, Nava is lucky to have you as her *love* auntie ;)

    @ckbrylliant-you are absolutely right. Because I was devastated too. It takes a lot of soul searching to identify why a diagnosis causes us to grieve and giving people some time to process it is the way to go.

    @Lisa-That's what I wanted to highlight. That you can legitimately feel sorry--sorry that a friend has to go through the crap, the fear, the extra hurdles--just not sorry a baby has been born.

  5. Sorry is a funny thing to hear in regards to your child....the sorry with the pity behind it is so not fun. But the I'm sorry that you're sad, that things are different than what you expected from a friend has its place.

  6. Absolutely. We instinctively say sorry but its important to remember what it is we're sorry for.

  7. Beautifully written. This is my first time visiting your blog. I love this post.


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