The Path To Acceptance Is Never Easy: A Special Needs Mother


This beautiful and heartfelt post Is written by Aswathi Dinil Sanker. Aswathi is a dear friend and a fellow mother. She is  the mother of two adorable children, a lovely little princess Avantika (who rocks the extra chromosome) six years old and a little champ Dhiaan who has just turned one. Presently residing in Calicut (Kerala) Aswathi is a remedial tutor by profession  and loves working with children. Her husband Dinil Sanker is her biggest critic ,motivator and best friend. She loves reading and considers books as her best friend. She is an advocate for Down Syndrome and believes that “Everything that happens, happens for a reason”….  Stop by and share her wonderful journey of ACCEPTANCE in her own words.


 *Accept – “to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable” OR “to agree to undertake a responsibility”…..(that’s what the dictionary says)

When it comes to being the parent of a special needs child, acceptance /accepting is supposed to be “THE”  word that we hear the most (sometimes it can be extremely irritating too). I remember when my doctor told me about Avantika’s diagnosis;   along with informing that she would be ‘mentally retarded,” he quickly added that she would not even pass her 10th std ! (the last thing I was thinking at that moment was her 10th std academic performance). Those words shattered me beyond words and I remember breaking down and crying out at my heart’s content.

A very close relative watching the events unfold told me that the easiest way to deal with the diagnosis would be to ACCEPT it and I thought, she must be kidding! My world was coming crumbling down and acceptance was not exactly what was running through my head. Being the dreamer I was, as soon as I knew I was pregnant I had already started dreaming about my daughter’s schooling, her growing up (hate to admit it, but even the marriage☺) and a lot of things that I know many of us have dreamt about . When all those dreams took a backseat and  I had to start thinking about milestones ,therapies, heart ailments ,hirschsprungs  disease and various other things that the doctor told  me would be difficult, how in the world was I supposed to accept  as soon as the diagnosis was delivered? Is accepting really that easy? It cannot come naturally. I am sure a lot of parents fake it till they make it. Is it as difficult for everyone as it was for me?  It must be different for everyone. Just like its five stages…

I wonder if everyone goes through each stage. Because I did! I had to struggle my way through each stage. And today I’d like to share my journey of acceptance with you all…



1. Denial

It definitely cannot be Down syndrome. I come from a family of scholars.  She does not have any features that is specific to DS; she looks just like my husband. Aww! She is so beautiful, perfect facial features. Iam sure a lot of babies have a single crease on their palm, that’s no big deal. Anyways she is premature; there might be a delay in her milestones. Besides me and my husband are just 25yrs, young and healthy. Down syndrome is definitely a mistake!


2. Anger

These doctors, they just think they know everything. How dare they tell me that my daughter has Down syndrome. I wonder what they teach them in med school?  (sincere apologies to all doctors, you guys are great).How could  God let me down? Haven’t I always been religious? Is this what I get for believing in him and trusting him to do everything right? Why do there have to be pictures of perfect babies all around me? What games are being played with my destiny?




3. Bargaining

What if I had been healthier or had another scan, would things have been different? Dear god, I promise to be a better person, please make my daughter alright. God, I promise to go to the temple everyday if you can make just make her alright. I will never ask you for anything else my whole life.  if you can just undo this ‘Down syndrome’ thing that you have given my daughter.


4. Depression

How could this happen to me? Why me? What will my daughter be able to do? What will I do with my life? How will I work again? What will happen to my dreams about her? Is my life going to revolve around therapies and hospital visits? Would my daughter have a normal life? I wish I could sink into the bottom of the earth and never be found.




5. Acceptance

My daughter has Down syndrome. DS is a genetic disorder and not anyone’s fault. I realise she would need extra effort to achieve her milestones but there are no limits to what she can achieve. I love her so much; much more than words can ever say and I am so proud of her accomplishments. ( btw it took me 5 yrs to reach this stage).

Now, when I look at my 6 yr old daughter dancing, painting , playing with her kitchen set and doing a whole lot of things that I thought she would never do;  I can’t help but wonder about the fuss. She is  loved by all her teachers and is pretty much the star of her class. Much to my surprise she did some beautiful paintings which were a part of a recently concluded exhibition in Calicut. I am extremely proud of her and very thankful that she chose me as her mother.  She has added so much meaning to my life and has taught me things I never thought I would learn. I have met so many wonderful and warm people who I don’t think I would have met otherwise. And  as clichéd as it may sound, today I truly believe she is the biggest blessing that God has given me.


I would like to tell all new parents, that accepting is the hardest and most difficult part, especially for mothers. We need our own sweet time to heal and to prepare our minds for this joyous yet bumpy ride. There are good days and bad days .Try to take inspiration from the good days and brush off the bad ones. Try to stay away from the rat race. God has blessed all our children with unique abilities and talents. As parents we are responsible to discover it, help nurture it and turn them into happy, confident and independent people.

The day I looked at my daughter beyond Down syndrome, I realised that God has given me his choicest blessing, his very own angel. And that to me was the day of REAL ACCEPTANCE!



You can reach Aswathi at “”




  1. Avatar Parvathy S Pillai

    Ashwathi.. Wonderful write up!! Whatever happens.. Happens for a reason.. So truly said!! And no doubt Avantika is a super sweet lil angel!! Love and hugs dear!!

  2. It’s great and motivation for fellow travelers (special needs parents)

    Thank you for sharing,

  3. What a lovely story. Your daughter and son are blessed to have you as their mother and advocate. Thanks for adding this post to’s Tuesday special needs link share.

    • Thank you so much Jolene:-)

  4. Yes, rightly said, acceptance in true sense is the most difficult task for parents having a child with DS. Once that is done, the capacity to go beyond knows no boundaries.

  5. Yes, rightly said, acceptance in true sense is the most difficult aspect for parents having children with DS. Once you do that, capacity to go beyond knows no boundaries….!!!

  6. Avatar Sonali Barshilia

    beautifully expressed Ashwathi. you have written for all the special mothers out there….i guess this journey from denial to acceptance is very important because when the acceptance finally and truly comes, it has been hard earned and then we don’t want to let go of it…and beyond acceptance is the spiritual realisation of self and our lovely kids have been the medium to this ultimate destination.

    • Thank u Sonali.very true once the acceptance is there there is no going back .Our kids definitely do change the way we look at life:-)

  7. Dear Aswathy,

    I am a mother like you, with my three year old son who had Down’s Syndrome. So I can understand what you went through. This path is not easy, but it is definitely worth the pain.

  8. Avatar Aswathi Dinil Sanker

    Thank u so much Athulya:-)

  9. This touched my heart! Your daughter is beautiful!! You are blessed with two children. And they are blessed to have such wonderful parents!

  10. Aswathi a big hug from a fellow traveller on this awesome journey ! Beautifully expressed and both your kids are absolutely adorable, may God bless them.

    • Avatar Aswathi Dinil Sanker

      Thank u very much Kiran.lots of love and hugs to your child:-)

  11. Ashwathi. ..Am I surprised at how poignant your lines are?not at all. Am I surprise at how adorable and happy Avantika is?No?Everyone I see you guys I see you evolve more as a mother..and as an individual. And now yes! You are finally in a ‘happy-place’.I have watched you getting there..and was always 100%certain that you will…what with a through and through die hard Optimist by your side at every step..Your husband!
    If there is one thing I wish every special Parent had. .it will be a Special spouse , one who is a true -blue Partner in every sense of the word!God bless!