The other day, someone pointed out that today is the Rockin’ Moms two-year anniversary. To be honest, I had no clue…because it kind of feels like these ladies have been in my life forever. But apparently it’s only been two years.
Two years ago, I was humming along pretty well, crazy in love with my one-year-old rockin’ the extra chromosome. But when someone posted about a new online group starting up for moms of kids with Down syndrome specifically born in 2012 and 2013, I thought, “Cool—kids the same general age as Sam. I’ll join.” And I did—and became part of the original Rockin’ Moms group. There are a bunch more groups now—I think the members in all of them total around 1,400. But there are just 150 of us in the original group, and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well in the online world. And in some lucky cases, we’ve gotten to meet in person, too.
The thing about the Rockin’ Moms is, not all support groups—online or otherwise—are amazing. Frankly, there can be a lot of drama in groups, and I don’t much care for drama. I’m a member of a number of groups related to Down syndrome, and the Rockin’ Moms is the one place that really feels safe. Because we don’t always agree, but we respect each other. We’ve got moms from all walks of life and from around the globe. We’ve got working moms, stay-at-home moms, and work-at-home moms. We’ve got vaccinators and anti-vax moms. We’ve got homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers. We’ve got moms with only one child and moms with multiple kids. We’ve got different religions, different faiths. We’ve got single moms and married moms. We’ve got it all. And we don’t always agree, but we respect. And that’s what makes it a safe place.
These ladies are incredible resource bank, too. You want to know about sleep apnea in kids with Down syndrome? Ask away. Experience in inclusion classrooms? Ask away. Experience with special ed? Yep, we’ve got that too. G-tubes, feeding issues, infantile spasms, heart problems, speech-therapy techniques…you name it, and someone in the group has experience with it and can share about it.
And these ladies are making a difference, too. They’re starting nonprofits for outreach to parents receiving a DS diagnosis, they’re setting up gift basket programs to welcome new families, they’re joining advocacy forums…. Really, it’s amazing.
And maybe more important than anything, they’ve got each other’s backs. Although raising a child with Down syndrome can be incredibly typical in many ways, there’s also the hard stuff. Some parents go through unimaginably hard things…and the Rockin’ Moms are there to support anyone who does.
Today, on the second anniversary of the Rockin’ Moms origination, one Rockin’ Mom lost her little girl. I didn’t know this mom—she’s in a different group from mine. But I know that every other Rockin’ Mom is grieving for her right now, and holding her sweet Audrey in their hearts. Because it’s just what Rockin’ Moms do….
Sweet Audrey, may you rest in peace and may your family find peace. And to Jen, who started this amazing set of groups…you are the rockin’est of the Rockin’ Moms. Thanks, lady, for bringing us all together!