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How My Child Inspires Me - By Jessica Cordero

My name is Jessica and I am a proud parent of a beautiful baby boy named Johnathan. But I am also a 19-year-old single mother of a child with Down syndrome. Like any other teenage girl that finds out she's pregnant, I was shocked, confused, and scared. But I took everything as it came.

Early on, my doctor had told me I was having a little boy. I was happy and very excited. So I started to prepare for the day when I would hold in my arms my special gift from God. As time went by I couldn't help but feel that something was wrong with my child. I saw it in my dreams and I felt it in my heart. Finally at 35 weeks I went into labor - a little earlier than we all wanted, but he was determined to see his way through.

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I cried at seeing his angelic face. Johnathan was born in February, weighing 5 pounds, 6 ounces. He was so small but there was a special glow around him that day. Soon after he was born, he was rushed off to the NICU. Four doctors approached me in my bed and said, "Your child has Down syndrome." To my surprise I didn't cry. All I wanted then was to be with my son. I held my son in my arms for the first time. Crying inside I whispered to him, "Mommy's gonna stay strong for us. I'll always be here for you and I love you more than you'll ever know."

Johnathan has inspired me from that day on. He is now six months old and every day he inspires me to be the best mother I can be. Because of him, I am still standing strong, and because of our experiences he has encouraged me to help others in their times of need. But most importantly, my child has taught me to NEVER let your disability define who you are. There is nothing my son can't do that others can. He seems to amaze me how each day he can look up at me and smile each morning. How every time I look at him and shed tears of joy he just rests his head on my chest, knowing how to comfort me. He is my world, my everything, and even though I sit here crying, thinking about my baby, he makes me want to live forever.

I thank God every day for my little angel. Yes, I am a young single parent and every day is a struggle, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish that my life could be any different. Sometimes there are not words to express how or what my son does for me, but I will end with this:

"Mommy loves you, J, and you will always be my inspiration!"

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