Mom’s video about raising a son with Down syndrome in support of Down syndrome awareness month goes viral
If this little cutie looks familiar from your recent Facebook feed there’s a good reason why. His name is Welles, and his adorable grin has gone viral for a great reason.
October is Down syndrome awareness month. Mom Oakley Peterson from the blog Nothing Down About It made a video about her son Welles as part of Jane.com’s #Stronglikeyou series to share her story about raising a child with Down syndrome. The video has spread like wildfire, gathering nearly four million views in less than ten days.
Besides the fact that Welles is just a ridiculously cute baby who lights up the screen, listening to Peterson speak so honestly about her reaction to first finding out her son had Down syndrome has parents everywhere reaching for the tissues.
Peterson and her husband were super excited to find out they were expecting their first son. While Peterson was looking forward to sharing a special mother-son bond, her husband was thinking about Little League and future sports games. But everything changed when Welles was born. “They asked us if we had done the quad screen,” (the test during pregnancy that gives parents a “one-in-a x number of births” likelihood that the baby has Down syndrome. “And I did,” she says. “And [the likelihood] was standard. And [the nurse] said, ‘Well, we think he has Down syndrome.”
Peterson says her honest first though upon hearing the news that her son might have had Down syndrome wasn’t concern, but rather annoyance. “My first thought is why are you interrupting us with this, of course he doesn’t! You only hear of that happening to women in their late 30s, that’s when the chances are.” But further tests revealed that Welles did in fact have an extra chromosome.
“I think he is, honey,” Peterson’s husband’s said to her upon finding out that Welles had Down syndrome. “I think he is, and that’s okay.”
She admits that fear played a large part of her early emotions. “My face I think was puffy for days because I was just so worried. I don’t know what to expect with his health. I don’t know what to expect with his life and that’s scary for a mom. It’s scary for any parent.”
A visit from some friends who also have a child with Down syndrome while they were still in the hospital after Welles’ birth helped give the Petersons a better idea of what parenting Welles would be like. “You just hit the jackpot,” they told them.
She quickly realized they were right. “I don’t want people to feel bad for him. They see the things that are hard but they don’t understand. What they don’t see is that Welles gives me more hugs and kisses than anybody. Welles picks up on people’s moods and loves with a capacity I don’t even think we’re capable of understanding.” She started her blog, Nothing Down About It as a way to chronicle life raising Welles, to help people learn about Down syndrome and provide support for other parents of children with Down syndrome.
“There’s nothing down about Welles, his diagnosis, or about people who live their life with Down syndrome.”