Jane #StrongLikeYou Series: Nothing Down About It
October is Down syndrome awareness month, and I can’t think of a better person who is raising awareness about Down syndrome than Oakley Peterson from Nothing Down About It. When Oakley found out her newborn son, Welles, had Down syndrome, she was overwhelmed by the news. She struggled for the first month, unsure how to raise a child with Down syndrome. But as her son grew, Oakley’s strength, positivity, and pure love for her son compelled her to become an advocate for him through her blog “Nothing Down About It.” See more of Oakley and Welles' story and the the #StrongLikeYou campaign here: https://jane.com/stronglikeyouPosted by Jane on Sunday, October 16, 2016
Oakley Peterson and her husband Scott were so excited to find out they were having their first boy, as they both grew up with sisters and already had a daughter. When Welles was born, Oakley felt the euphoria that "every mom understands," until she heard the nurses whispering — they thought her son might have Down Syndrome, and wanted to take him to the neonatologist to find out for sure.
"That can't happen — I had my boy perfectly pictured," Oakley says in an emotional video detailing everything from Welles's birth to his Down Syndrome diagnosis and his life in the present. "I don't know what to expect with his health, I don't know what to expect with his life. That's scary for a mom; that's scary for any parent."
After Welles's initial diagnosis, friends of the couple who have a daughter with Down Syndrome visited to talk and reassure them: "You just hit the jackpot. Your family is going to function like a normal family, your family is going to do wonderful, fun things, and it's actually probably going to be more fun because of Welles."
Since then, Oakley has made it her mission to help others understand the happiness and love that comes with having a child with Down Syndrome — something that she didn't understand in the beginning — through her blog, Nothing Down About It.
If you spend more than two minutes with Welles, you can tell his quality of life is better than maybe all of ours. There's nothing down about Welles, about his diagnosis, and about people who live their life with Down Syndrome. He's changed our lives to make it so the focus of every day is just joy and happiness and to bless other people. I don't even want to imagine a world without more Welles; I think we need more Welles in our lives.