In the video you will see news coverage of Lydia Orso and Tom Swenson’s wedding. I expect that when Lydia was born, no one believed one day she would be exchanging vows at her wedding ceremony–I know I would not have.
When my daughter was born, I instantly had a vision of walking her down the aisle at her wedding. Then the perinatal nurse said she thought our daughter had Down syndrome and that vision shattered into a thousand pieces.
At the time, I did not know individuals with Down syndrome got married. I did not recall seeing any news coverage of such ceremonies. Even if I had, I doubt I would have remembered, since, like most, I did not expect that someday I would have a loved one with Down syndrome.
Perhaps if I had known of ceremonies like Lydia and Tom’s when our daughter’s diagnosis was delivered, it would have been a less shattering experience. Likely not by very much, because anytime the diagnosis is delivered it is unexpected. But, at least, my instant vision upon seeing my little girl for the first time with my own eyes would have shifted into an image of Lydia’s wedding, instead of being dashed as something my daughter never would have the chance to experience.
The American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) cautions that providers “must keep in mind that medical knowledge has limitations and medical judgment is fallible and should therefore take great care to present a balanced evaluation for both the woman and the fetus.” The same holds true for parents.
Lydia and Tom are exceptional. Marriage remains a rare event for most individuals with Down syndrome. But, Lydia’s wedding, for me, is seeing a dream come true. It would have been very helpful in processing our daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis to know that there still was the chance to walk her down the aisle at her wedding someday.
This is why I share Lydia and Tom’s video. I expect and hope it may help others to know that these life events can happen for individuals with Down syndrome, and are happening more often as life with Down syndrome, and society’s inclusion of these individuals, improves.
UPDATE: Lydia and Tom have a website that shares their wedding experience, from the proposal through the ceremony, with many photographs. You can view their website here.