Mum Shares How Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome Inspired Her To Help Others

Deepshikha Punj
·5-min read

They say every child is a blessing and it couldn’t be more true than in the case of Singapore-based mum, Anna Ico Tingzon.

At 39, Tingzon gave birth to her daughter knowing well that she’ll be born with Down syndrome. But that reality didn’t deter her. In fact, it further cemented her resolve to welcome Marian into this world.

“During my first trimester, my OSCAR test results (screening for risk of foetal anomalies) revealed that the ratio of having a child with Trisomy 21 was 1:4. Despite the high risk, I decided not to proceed for further tests to confirm if my baby had Down syndrome. I knew that I would still keep my baby no matter what,” shares the 43-year-old who spoke exclusively to theAsianparent about raising a child with Down syndrome.

Although Tingzon didn’t have to think twice about having Marian, what worried her most was the public perception about Down syndrome.

“I was devastated and worried because of the misconception that raising a child with Down syndrome is very challenging. However, my husband and my immediate family were very supportive during the pregnancy; more so, when I gave birth. It was even more special because I gave birth via emergency C-section on Christmas Day, 2017,” says the Singapore-based mum.

Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome: It’s Tough But Fulfilling

Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome
Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome

Image courtesy: Anna Ico Tingzon

While the birth was still easier for Anna, it was her postpartum time which really tested her patience as a new mum.

“The first few months were very hard because it was all new to me and my family. But with the help of my husband, we were able to work together to raise our child the way we envision her to be,” shares Tingzon.

She adds that both she and her husband decided to attend special sessions to understand how to best raise Marian together. “My husband and I work together very closely in raising Marian. Both he and myself attend the therapy sessions on alternate weeks and are very involved in raising her together,” she explains about raising a daughter with Down syndrome.

“It is the duty of both husband and wife to work together as a team in taking care of the home and the welfare of the children,” adds Tingzon.

A Unique Parenting Style Filled With Love, Patience, And Compassion

down syndrome
down syndrome

Image courtesy: Anna Ico Tingzon

Raising a daughter with Down syndrome has brought about many changes in the couple and inculcated a unique parenting style. They are different and yet the same as every other parent.

“My parenting style is no different from a typical parent. I consciously remind myself to let her try things on her own, allow her to fail sometimes, and encourage independence,” explains Tingzon.

“I can say that I am a very hands-on mother, attending to my child’s therapy sessions together with my husband, reinforcing the skills at home and working closely together with my child’s therapists and teachers to achieve her developmental goals,” she adds.

“Always give love, patience, and understanding to your child”

Her advice to fellow parents of kids with special needs is simply to be more accepting.

“Be strong and have courage. We, as parents, should accept our children completely. If the child has special needs, parents need to encourage the child to reach his/her utmost potential through early intervention and family acceptance. Most importantly – always give love, patience, and understanding to your child,” she shares.

As for the kids, Tingzon advises, “Know who you are. What are your strengths and limitations? Do not allow others to define who you are just because of an extra chromosome or a special need. Love yourself.”

21 Extra Goodness: “This is my calling in life”

Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome
Raising A Daughter With Down Syndrome

Image courtesy: Anna Ico Tingzon

Today, three years since having Marian, Tingzon is balancing her full-time job as a market lead for a resort with her social venture, 21 Extra Goodness, with the aim to raise more awareness about Down syndrome.

In a way, raising a daughter with Down syndrome, has pushed Tingzon to give back to society and help those who may be going through the same journey as her.

As Tingzon puts it, “While raising Marian, I realised that my life’s purpose is to create social awareness and promote inclusivity in children with special needs.” “This is my calling in life,” she adds.

Speaking about her venture, Tingzon shared, “A typical baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, called Trisomy 21. Having a child with Trisomy 21 is a blessing to our family; and therefore considered “Good.” Hence, we created 21 Extra Goodness.”

Through this social business, Tingzon’s mission is to empower individuals with Down syndrome. She wishes to help them reach their utmost potential through early intervention, inclusive education, and fair employment, thereby achieving a better quality of life. And, Tingzon has been working hard to ensure those who need help, receive it urgently.

“Last October, we organised a three-part webinar series. Together with various therapists and a developmental paediatricians we aimed to promote Early Intervention during the pandemic,” explained Tingzon.

“As we also sell home-cooked Filipino dishes in the local SG community, we also partnered with Down syndrome Association (Singapore). Here a portion of the proceeds collected last Christmas were donated to DSA,” she added.

This year for World Down Syndrome Day (March 21), Tingzon is working on a “Bag of Goodness.”

“This is a campaign where 21 Extra Goodness will donate hampers to new mothers whose babies have Down syndrome or other special needs. This is in collaboration with DSA as well,” she says.


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