In our lives, we often face significant tests of love. Jeritsza (40) encountered this test 7 months ago. She discovered a profound lesson of love and acceptance through the birth of her son Erion, who has Down Syndrome.

From the unexpected moment of the doctor's call with the positive NIPT test result and the proposition to consider whether or not to keep her child, Jeritsza embarked on a journey that changed her understanding of love in its purest and most sincere form. The accumulation of emotions, fears, and questions that dominated that day can never surpass the love she feels now for having accepted what God placed in her life; the greatest love story that taught her what it truly means to cherish, for what really is love. “I fell in love with my baby, in an instant.” This reflects the immediate moment of love and acceptance Jeritsza felt for Erion.

The news of the positive NIPT test result at 10 weeks of pregnancy shook Jeritsza’s world. She was working with the Red Cross during an important event when the doctor called with the result. The doctor gave Jeritsza two days to decide if she wanted to keep the baby. The decision to accept her child came after much reflection. As a mother of two children, Eliziën (17) and Eden (14), and balancing her life as a mother, partner, student at IPA to become a teacher, and a volunteer as an emergency medical responder for the Red Cross, she never thought she would face this challenge. Her first two pregnancies went smoothly, and although she always wanted another child, the news of her pregnancy at 39 was a surprise. After overcoming the initial shock and in family unity, Jeritsza and her family committed themselves to receive the blessing that God sent into their lives.

The pregnancy continued with many questions in Jeritsza’s mind. “I was still in denial. I remember during my pregnancy I was looking for online information that said in the tests I did, there is always a 1% chance the test could be incorrect and I was looking for that 1%. I thought maybe there is still a chance my baby will be born without problems. I remember in the 7th month, a friend sent me a beautiful poem that deeply touched my heart. The poem was a metaphor for a trip planned to Paris but ending up in Holland, reflecting the surprise and adaptation to unexpected situations and that Holland could also be a good option. This opened a window of optimism and helped Jeritsza see the beauty and potential in her new situation. She says that this part always brings great emotion because it was the moment she realized and accepted that what awaited her was going to be something beautiful.

Instead of continuing to look for the 1% chance that the results of her tests could be wrong, she changed her way of thinking. “I started doing research on Facebook in groups with families with Down syndrome babies and found a very beautiful community that instead of lamenting their situation, celebrated it.” There, she saw a different angle and realized how special her situation is, and so her thinking changed.

“I learned that I don’t need to see my situation as something bad, but rather, understand my baby's situation and prepare myself for it. For example, she found out that babies with Down syndrome require special bottles due to the larger size of their tongues, which is the ideal car seat for them due to the length of their necks. Thus, a world of information and support opened for Jeritsza, which she couldn’t find anywhere in Aruba. Jeritsza observed that in Aruba there is a certain taboo even around children with Down syndrome.

The online groups provided the emotional and practical support she needed. She received guidance and advice on every aspect of caring for Erion.

“I joined the group and registered for a welcome celebration package. After two weeks, a package arrived at my house and when I opened it, there was a baby romper written Rockin’ Mom on it and a letter written by mothers in the network that said; You got this and we got you. And with any question I have, I can just ask them. I cried when I got this, because I could feel that I am not alone.” This moment illustrates the importance of support and community for Jeritsza on her journey.

Jeritsza shares the positive impact and profound love that Erion has brought into her life and her family. “Erion has illuminated our lives with his presence. The love he receives and the happiness he brings cannot be measured. He is my love, the love of his father, his siblings, grandparents. Erion, with his constant smile and sweet nature, has proven to be an enormous blessing.”

Contrary to her initial expectations, caring for Erion turned out to be an experience filled with love and joy. Erion taught Jeritsza the true meaning of love and acceptance. Their story is an inspiring example of pure love and the light that a child with Down syndrome can bring into our lives.