Tom and I have lived in our house for about five and a half years now and we pretty much only know the people that live directly next to us and across from us. We're not antisocial per se, we just don't go out of our way to meet our neighbors. We are friendly with the ones next to us, but for the most part, there aren't any other couples our age around us so we just don't have much to bond over. I've often thought about what it would be like to actually socialize with our neighbors as so many other people I know do, but it just doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.
Anyway...As a result of us kind of keeping to ourselves, the fact that I was pregnant and then that we had Tera, wasn't necessarily common knowledge. Our neighbors to the right of us actually did know because their daughter has dog sat for us on a few occasions and we told her when I was pregnant. After that her mom and dad congratulated us and we just kind of waited it out. To make matters more covert, I was pregnant in the winter so it wasn't exactly obvious what with the big coat and the fact that we weren't spending much time outdoors (with the exception of clearing the snow from the biggest snowstorm in history 3 weeks before Tera was born). Then she was born and it was still a few weeks before we could take her outside (early spring) and then a few people were surprised I had been pregnant at all. In fact, I don't think our neighbors to the left of us even knew about her until she was about 3 months old. The other neighbors did see us shortly after she was born and asked the question that I've kind of dreaded when talking to casual acquaintances or new people: "So she's healthy and everything right?" We've never known quite how to answer that. So when the mom next door asked when she saw us, we said sure, she had a few issues but mostly yes, she was healthy.
I'm not one for small talk, but even I have to admit, asking if a newborn is healthy is a pretty normal, routine question. But how did/do we answer it? She spent 7 days in the hospital, but that was due to a close call with an infection; nothing major (in hindsight of course). She has 2 holes in her heart, but they didn't require medication or surgery so again, not too major (ok, yes but not enough to try and explain). And then there's the big one: Down Syndrome. Not a health issue completely, but definitely something of note and so far, we've really not addressed it with anyone outside our family, friends, and coworkers.
We've discussed it several times, the first probably being after that first neighbor met her, and we both agreed we didn't mention it because we didn't want to have an awkward conversation. I'm pretty sure when people ask that question, it seems like the right thing to do and few people probably expect anything other than "Yes, of course, the picture of health." So while we are definitely not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it, sometimes it just seems that we're saving the other person from the discomfort of the situation.
That being said, it's only a matter of time before people will be able to tell by looking at her. Which is definitely something I've thought about because I don't want anybody to think we hid the fact that she has Down Syndrome, but I also don't want to make it a central issue.
The reason this all came up again is because we have an older couple that we are friendly with across the street (I used to order MaryKay from her and Tom has helped them clear their driveway of snow several times). The woman had actually called us to ask if we had a new baby because she had seen us pushing her in the stroller. So after several weeks of forgetting and not getting around to it, we finally decided we should be neighborly and walk across the street to introduce her to the neighbors. They of course gushed over her and we of course said nothing about the Down Syndrome. And so I began thinking of it again and I think I pretty much feel the same way. I don't want to have to introduce her, ever, as my daughter Tera who has Down Syndrome. Instead it will probably be, this is my daughter Tera, and yes I agree, she's pretty freaking adorable.