Elena Fong Is Mama Warrior + A Down Syndrome Advocate

She Is On A Mission To Make Sure People Of All Abilities Are Included, Represented and Valued.

raising a child with down syndrome

When Elena initially received the news during her pregnancy that her daughter would be born with Down Syndrome, her first thought was that she couldn’t be a 'special needs' mom. But it turns out, she became the best kind of special needs mom, an advocate for the special needs community and a mama warrior for her family. Once Wynter arrived, it became her dream to get involved with Changing The Face Of Beauty, a non-profit organization that empowers people living with disabilities by advocating for inclusive imagery in the media and advertising industries. “One of my life’s missions is to help spread awareness that children with ‘different abilities’ are represented and included,” she explains. “And hosting events for Changing The Face Of Beauty is just one way that I am doing that.” We can’t wait to see what’s next.

changing the face of beauty

This is Elena…

Where do you live? 

Oakland, CA

Your children's name and ages:

 Wynter 2 years-old, Nova 10 months-old

5 words that describe you:

Anxious, Empathetic, Determined, Strong-willed, Sarcastic

How do your children inspire you? 

To love greater, bigger! To take chances and to follow my passions in life.

What is an activity your whole family loves to do together? 

I would say our favorite thing is just being home with each other, hanging out, playing and being silly. Since both kids aren’t walking yet, we don’t do much outdoor activities yet. And Wynter is still hesitant to play at the park.

How do you survive a tough day of parenting? 

Lots of snuggling with my babies, and finding the beauty in those really tough moments.

What's the one thing you wish people knew about your children?

For my daughter Wynter, that Down syndrome isn't who she is, it's what she has. And both my children have the BEST sense of humor! They make me laugh every day!

What is the one thing your children can't live without?

Wynter, crackers! And for Nova his pacifier!

What's the one thing you would drive back to get if you forgot it when out with your kids? 

Diapers! I’ve had way too many poop explosions with both of my kids! 

3 moms you follow on social media that inspire you and why?

Nao Pinard (@rightnao), Katie Jameson (@katie_jameson) and Amanda Booth (@amanda_booth) Because they all have a child with Down syndrome, and they were some of the first accounts I came across when I found out Wynter’s prenatal diagnosis. I am inspired by their strength, honesty, sincerity and activism.

Do you make time for self-care? If so, what is your self-care ritual?

Yes when I can. I keep it simple. I mainly like to just get out of the house without the kids. Take a walk, visit some favorite shops, have a meal, or even meet up with a girlfriend for a bit. And take a nap! Even if its just for 15 mins!

special needs family

What is the last thing you purchased for yourself that made you really happy?

An Oori rice triangle! Haha! I'm so addicted to them thanks to my friend Deb!

What advice would you give to a (new) special needs mom? 

Not to limit their child. Expose them to as much as possible, they will let you know what they can and cannot do. And to just love your child. Love does not discriminate. And the love I feel from Wynter is HUGE. She loves so purely and with her whole entire being! It's the BEST kind of love.

What quote do you live by?

"Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." I unfortunately don't know who this quote is by, but came across it on Pinterest years ago, and whole-heartedly believe this and live by it.

Follow Elena on Instagram…