When Charlotte Laitner was born, her parents immediately knew that something was wrong with her.

Nicky Laitner, of St Albans, England, said she and her husband, Steve, quickly realized that their daughter — their firstborn — had Down syndrome, the Daily Mail reports.

Devastated, Nicky remembered being in a “fog of shock and worry,” wondering if her newborn daughter would ever grow up, walk, talk or go on the bike rides that she dreamed about doing together as a family someday.

Then, a nurse’s words woke her up out of her stupor.

“Charlotte was just a few hours old when a maternity nurse suggested to me I could leave her at the hospital and return home to carry on my life without my baby,” she said. “Her words roused me from the fog of shock and worry I’d been in since giving birth ‒ when it was immediately obvious Charlotte wasn’t the baby I thought I was having ‒ and fired up in me a fierce sense of protectiveness that has never left me.”

It was just the first of many hurtful comments in the years to come.

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Nicky Laitner said she never would have considered an abortion if she had learned that Charlotte had Down syndrome before birth, but some people made her feel guilty for not getting prenatal tests.

“We received sympathy cards in the post, old friends crossed the road to avoid us because they didn’t know what to say, and I was repeatedly asked why I hadn’t had tests ‒ the implication being this was my ‘fault,’” she remembered.

Nicky said she felt like she had to always be positive and upbeat when talking with other mothers, too, because she was afraid any negative comments from her might make people think badly about her daughter. Later, when Charlotte began going to school, she was bullied and mocked for how she looked and talked.

Despite all the negative comments, there were other people who encouraged Charlotte and her parents. One was a pediatrician who treated Charlotte right after she was born. Nicky said the doctor encouraged her to just enjoy her new baby, take it a day at a time and not put limits on her daughter because of her disability.

Others encouraged Charlotte to pursue her love of singing and dancing. The Laitners said she began performing at age 11 and eventually went on to study performing arts in college. In June, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in inclusive performance, according to the report.

“I cried tears of immense pride at her graduation,” her mother said. “Beautiful, confident and happy, it’s hard to believe expectations of her were so low it was suggested I abandon her or, even worse, that I should have ended her life before she was born.”

Now, Charlotte is 22 years old and works at a local theater. She said she enjoys treating her mother to lunch, exercising and going to the pub with her friends.

“I happen to have Down’s syndrome but it doesn’t define me – it’s a small part of who I am. Mum taught me to embrace it, while never letting it stand in my way,” Charlotte said.

Her mother said she would never give up her daughter for anything.

“I’ve never wished for Charlotte to be anyone different; I wouldn’t change a thing about her,” she said. “She’s funny, compassionate and driven. Her emotions and outlook are completely unclouded by self-consciousness, which is so refreshing. She is who she is, and she made me the mother I was meant to be.”

The post Hospital Encouraged Mom to Abandon Newborn Daughter With Down Syndrome, But She Refused appeared first on LifeNews.com.

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