What The 2018 Gerber Baby With Down Syndrome Means To My Family

by Beth Ann Shore
Originally Published: 
Bethann Shore

On the heels of an announced snow day, I ushered my brood downstairs and flipped on the news. Through the hustle and bustle of changing diapers and picking up tossed food, I breezed by the television and spotted a baby with Down syndrome.

As with any time I see a person with Down syndrome, I waited with baited breath to hear the details. My husband and I watched and watched and waited for this mystery story. Impatient, we both took to google searching for a clue…..then, it was on.

Lucas was named the Gerber baby of 2018, and Lucas has Down syndrome.


This was a footprint in the future of the disability.

This one announcement changed the way life would be for my son. This one step towards changing what we consider “cute” changed my world. And in that moment our world stood still and we wept for possibilities.

When Judah was a baby, countless people told me to put him into modeling. His own Nana must’ve suggested it to me every single time I posted a picture on social media. She was relentless. I chuckled as I thought she was seeing through a grandmother’s eyes. I second-guessed as I wondered if people really thought he was cute or if it was pity in party clothes.

Mostly, I thought the world wasn’t ready. No, that’s a lie. Mostly, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t equipped for rejection I thought inevitable. I wasn’t ready for my bubble of acceptance to be popped. I wasn’t sure I could handle the cruelness of the world.

I was so abundantly wrong.

To my son: Dear Judah,

I apologize. I did you a disservice. I didn’t have the faith in the people that I work so hard to persuade. I advocate for acceptance and inclusion and I fill my news feeds with all of the reasons you are so lovable. Yet, when the chips came down I felt I had to shield you, shield me. I didn’t have the heart to let us possibly be hurt. All I can say my love, is I am so gravely sorry. I promise to do better. I swear that I will not shy away from all that you may do because of what may not be. That is not who I am, darling. That is not who I want you to be. That is not what the world is. The world is kind and open and revolutionary and the world is ready for you!

With Fierce and Complete Love,


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