TiAnna and Andrew Wright (Submitted).
Ever since TiAnna Wright gave birth to Andrew, her 18-month old son with Down syndrome, she has been involved with a number of groups for parents with children that have Down syndrome.
But earlier this year, Wright decided that she wanted to step out of her comfort zone and create a group of her own.
“I have been feeling like I needed to do this for a while,” Wright said.
Wright recently created a local moms group in the Salem-Keizer area for mothers who have a child with Down syndrome.
The initial plan was to have monthly walks or coffee house hangouts to share what it’s like to be a mother of a child with Down syndrome. But when the spread of COVID-19 hit in March, Wright initially felt like she needed to put everything on hold.
However, thanks to Zoom — a video service that has become increasingly popular for those in quarantine — Wright and the other mothers in the group were still able to meet up over the computer.
“I was missing people, it was so great that will still got to do it virtually,” Wright said.
Having comradery and fellowship with other moms with children who have Down syndrome has been a blessing to Wright for a litany of different reasons.
For instance, Wright loves being able to celebrate with mothers when one of the children take a step forward in their development, like when one of the kids started to walk with the assistance of a roller, or when another child begins to eat fruits and vegetables.
To many, these achievements might not seem like a big deal, but to Wright, as well as other parents of children with Down syndrome, they are a source of joy.
“Certain things are a really big deal to our kids, so it has been really fun to celebrate and cheer with mommas when their kids accomplish something new,” Wright said. “There are plenty of people that are super caring and understanding with Andrew. But with other mothers who are going through the exact same stuff as I am, they just get me.”
Being Andrew’s mother has taught Wright a lot about Down syndrome, but it has also taught her how she can better support those who are disenfranchised.
“Andrew has really opened my eyes to a lot of things in this world, because this world is not catered to him,” Wright said. “It made me understand privilege and the inequality people face in this world.”
One of the moms that connected with Wright was Rachel Prescott, the mother of twin girls that have Down syndrome. Prescott has a blog called doublingdownmom.com where she writes about how she and her family navigate how to parent and advocate for her two daughters with Down syndrome.
Prescott, who has more than 90,000 followers on Instagram, talked about how important it is for families that have children with Down syndrome to seek out friendships and relationships with people who face similar challenges.
“When you’re a mom that receives a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, it’s easy to be overcome by fear. A lot of information on children with Down syndrome is outdated and incorrect, so to be able to go to have community with real mothers who know what you’re going through, that is a game-changer,” Prescott said. “There is such a beauty in it, and that’s really encouraging.”
Wright says that the mom’s group will continue to chat via Zoom until the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end. She hopes to plan a mom’s night out, as well as schedule play dates with entire families.
“You need that person-to-person contact. It’s important to connect and have fellowship. Without it, the journey can get a little lonely,” Wright said. “It’s been pretty special how it all worked out.”
The mom’s group is open for new members. To join, reach out to Wright on Facebook or Instagram.