It Was A Complete Surprise When Her Son Was Diagnosed With Down Syndrome At Birth
Now It's Andrea Robert's Mission To Spread Kindness + Acceptance Through Social Media.
By PJ Feinstein
“A homie with an extra chromie.”
That’s howdescribes her son, Case, a smiley two-year-old boy who just so happens to have three copies of his #21 chromosome. Case’s Down syndrome diagnosis at birth came as a surprise to Andrea and her husband, Collin; nothing in Andrea’s ultrasounds during her pregnancy suggested the possibility of trisomy 21. “Our initial reaction was scared, sad, and overwhelmed,” she says. “After the first day, however, we were able to see him for him, and the diagnosis turned into something we loved about him.”
Today, the 23-year-old elementary education student is “living the farm life with her hunk of a farmer” and sharing uplifting stories about raising a child with Down syndrome on her blog, In Case You’re Down, and popular Instagram account. We chatted with Andrea about her happy little boy and how she stays positive when life feels hard.
What's the most challenging thing about raising a child with special needs?
I think just the staring, the whispering behind you in lines at stores, and the assumptions people make about your family.
What's one thing you wish people knew about your child?
He lives a happy life! He doesn’t suffer at all, and he truly is the happiest kid I know. His quality of life is much higher than mine and yours, guaranteed.
What are your favorite apps?
Where is your family's happy place?
Definitely camping in the mountains during the summer, or riding in the tractor out in the fields with each other during harvest time.
What self-care rituals help keep you sane?
I workout 3-4 times per week. Sometimes it means leaving my boys for a couple hours, but it’s something that’s important to me and reminds me that I am important too. I also love getting my hair done a couple times a year and a good old pedicure.
I think self-care for me is noticing when I am at my wit's end and when to ask for help. Then not feeling bad for asking for that help.
Who are your 3 favorite moms to follow on Instagram?
What book are you currently obsessed with?
I just finished The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It’s such a good book, and I highly recommend it to anyone!
What 5 words best describe you?
What advice would you give a new special needs mom?
When you first get the diagnosis, let yourself feel all the feels. You’ll feel it all. Don’t feel guilty for that. Just let yourself work through the emotions. It’s totally normal, and you aren’t a bad person for feeling anything negative. It’s something that is a hard thing to process at first, but soon enough you’ll be feeling only happy things.
Everyone’s experience is so different. Even if the diagnosis is the same, your child may be quicker to learn things or might take longer. Don’t take it personally and just don’t compare your children. Each one is so unique in their own way.
Find your tribe. Find the people that are in the same boat as you and will support your worries and excitements. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not expected to be a mom alone.