When we decided to highlight moms for Down Syndrome Awareness month we knew that we had to talk to Taylor. She is a one-of-a-kind person who has such a unique view of motherhood and Down syndrome. She has worked with children and adults with Down syndrome for years and because of her experience doing this she decided, at age 19, that she wanted to adopt a baby with DS. Last summer that dream became a reality and she flew to California to pick up her baby boy, George. In her interview she talks about how motherhood has made her stronger, what it was like to fly home with a 4-week old, and that she doesn’t want to be considered “heroic”. Please help us welcome Taylor into our Mom of Fame…she truly deserves it!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Taylor! I work in theater, doing teaching work, directing, and performing. My husband, Kyle, also works in theater, and is the drama teacher at a local high school. We adopted our son, George, in March with the help of the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network. It’s been our dream to adopt a child with Down syndrome for many, many years, and since that dream has come true, we’ve been in a state of pure joy.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
The piece of advice that I have found to be the most helpful is that every stage is the hardest and will also be my favorite. So far, it’s definitely proven true, and it makes the hard moments a little bit more achievable!
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
I am shocked that I feel like myself. I imagined that becoming a mother would strip me of my previous identity, but what it really did was enhance my identity. I am happy to feel how much of myself I feel in my motherhood.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
First and foremost, I look at myself as a lifelong learner. I do not know it all and I do not believe I know more or less than my child.
Secondly, I work hard to maintain my personal identity- I’m a better mother when I am and feel like myself!
Thirdly, I value community, which I believe helps both me be a good mother because it gives me opportunity to connect and grow, as well as opening up opportunities for socialization with George and other kiddos!
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
In March, we got on a five hour flight with a four week old. Yikes. I had been a mother for all of a week and a half, and I had to try to navigate getting me and my husband and our newborn onto a plane. Learning to be a mom is hard enough, and learning how to with such little ability to fail was traumatic. Being a mom while also being a person felt truly impossible as we went through security, but the TSA agents luckily took pity on the sobbing new mother!
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
I don’t like to think of it as what I’ve lost. I think I have highlighted parts of myself, and I have put other parts of myself on the back-shelf temporarily. I believe we’re all lifelong learners, so any part of myself that isn’t present because of my transition into motherhood needed to make room for the things I’ve gained.
I think I have gained so much confidence. Not about motherhood, but about myself. The strength I have did not exist 8 months ago, and I can’t believe how quickly that has changed.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
I hope he knows that doing what you love is the most important thing. I hope I teach my children the value of heart and soul over the value of quantity.
Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?
I want people to know that the narrative about Down syndrome that is heard within in our society is adamantly false. People with Down syndrome are so much richer and deeper than the “always happy” people that society sees them as. Kids with Down syndrome deserve the same joy, respect, discipline, and expectation as any other child.
Being a mom to a child with Down syndrome is absolutely not a heroic act. It is not something that only a few special people can do. Anybody is fully equipped with the tools that are necessary to be a parent to a child with Down syndrome. We aren’t special, different moms, so ask us the same questions you ask your other mom friends, and just know that our answers might be a little different. We also desperately crave your childs acceptance, so know that we want to help create significant, real friendships between our children!