When Shimmy Cohen and his wife, parents of three healthy, bright, daughters, sat with the doctor, they never imagined what they were about to hear; this time the good news was doubled…
But there was also a footnote: The doctor riffled through the papers with a serious mien, turned them to the right and to the left, hesitated, and then returned to the pages, scrolling down with the computer mouse among unclear concepts in a different language. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” the doctor searched for the words, “but there is a very big chance that one of the babies is not a regular child.”
“What do you mean?”
The doctor fiddled with the pen in his hand. “It’s not a hundred percent, and I could be totally mistaken, but you need to take into account that one of the children might have Down syndrome.”
Try to imagine how parents feel when news like this lands on their heads all at once. Everything they ever knew is about to change, and everything that was understood has become foreign, mysterious, and quite threatening. What could they do? The truth is — nothing, other than to pray that everything would be okay.
After the initial shock, they went to the gedolei harabbanim, who bolstered their hearts with strong faith.
They calmed down, or at least that’s how it looked on the outside. But deep inside, somewhere in the subconscious, a deep feeling took root. The feeling that the doctor was right.
Not a single neighbor missed the roars of joy that were heard in the parents’ house: “Mazel tov! Twin boys!” After three girls, the long-awaited boy had finally come to the Cohen home, and not one boy, but – two!
Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, close family — all wanted to call and wish ‘Mazel tov,’ to share in the simchah — but, for some reason, “the line was not available.” Shimmy wasn’t answering calls, and neither was the new mother. The phone rang stubbornly, waiting for someone to press “Receive” and accept all the good wishes trying to flood the receiver, but nobody answered.
Inside the room, there was a storm of emotions. Shimmy and his wife were dazed by the uncertainty, overwhelmed by the question marks and wonderment. Again and again, they asked one another if they’d heard right, if the doctor who had claimed that one of the babies might have Down syndrome was mistaken.
Because there wasn’t one baby with the syndrome.
Both of them had Down syndrome. “The shock was tremendous,” Shimmy goes back to those first moments. “What do we do? What do we tell the family? How will it affect the girls at home? How will we manage? What therapy will they need? And what exactly is Down syndrome?”
Precisely at this point, like a ray of light from above, the Ezer Mizion social workers arrived on the scene and provided a broad response to the questions and doubts. They connected the couple to all the relevant therapists and provided a complete service package for the confused parents who had been thrust into this emotional whirlwind of helplessness. Ezer Mizion’s professionals presented the information sensitively and wisely with a Jewish, correct, professional approach and a promise to hold their hand as long as needed. To be continued