Thursday, February 3, 2011

Do Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's Twins Have Down Syndrome?

I went to the grocery store today and had the misfortune to see the cover of the latest issue of Star magazine which shouts to the world that they have the "Truth About The Twins." Apparently a person who claims she used to be a nanny for the celebrities fraternal twins states that she thinks the twins might have Down syndrome.

Are you kidding me?

OK - it's not that I don't think it's possible that one of the twins could have an extra 21st chromosome, but the way the story is presented is very disappointing! The magazine states that there are rumors the twins could be "afflicted" with the "horrible mental disorder."

What? Is having Down syndrome like the plague?

The story had more holes than my spaghetti strainer. The nanny backs up her theory that the twins have DS with the information that Angie had a difficult pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. WOW! Who knew that high blood pressure late in pregnancy could cause a change in the babies at the chromosomal level? That sure is news to me! Probably news to most obstetricians and perhaps God, too!

The truth of the matter is that Down syndrome is caused by a triplication of the 21st chromosome. This genetic anomaly generally happens shortly after the egg is fertilized, and  there is no known cause. There is a maternal age correlation with the likelihood of a baby having DS, but young women can have children with DS too.

The twins are also Fraternal twins - not identical. the chances of *both* babies having DS is incredibly slim.

The National Enquirer ran a similar story In April of 2010. Both stories put an amazingly negative slant, touting the "tragedy" of having a child with Down syndrome.

It's all about sensationalism. What is "tragic" is that magazines like this would vilify that extra chromosome. That not only is Down syndrome presented as some sort of horrible mental disorder (which it is not), but that this type of misinformation is perpetuated and widely publicized on every single check-out stand in the United States. Currently more than 90% of people who learn their unborn child has Down syndrome choose to end the pregnancy. How many of those people actually know what Down syndrome really is, or what huge potential people with DS have? Negative media presentation like this only serves to influence public perceptions of people who seem "different" in one way or another. Once upon a time black people were represented negatively in the media. Now it's those with disabilities?? Shouldn't we be past that by now?

Does this look like  the face of tragedy to you?

Ultimately the story appearing in Star does not put forth any actual proof that either twin has Down syndrome. If one of their children does have Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) I'm sure eventually we will all know. The important thing for us to know now is that a disability does not define a child. If you have a beautiful child, you announce to the world that you have a beautiful child. A precious baby is a baby first and foremost. You don't have a baby and then tell everyone, "Well we just had this baby but she's a red head and we wanted a blond. She also has lighter skin than we wanted, and her nose seems a little long. Looks like she has funky toes, also." Loving parents just don't do that! Same thing if you have a child with an extra chromosome. She is a child. She is beautiful just the way she is. Focus on her beauty first, and get to know her for the person she is.

For those of you who don't know much about Down syndrome, or the potential people with Down syndrome have, here is a link to a video of The Skink reading at 3 years and 2 months of age. That's right! Potential!

Now does this look like  the face of tragedy to you? Not so much, huh?



  1. Argh!! I can't handle it when people refer to Down Syndrome as some sort of tragedy! Of course, it will come as a shock to the parents and there a definitely many, many emotions involved but it's hardly a tragedy.

    I have so many friend with Down Syndrome and they are just amazing! As for the Skink - TOO CUTE!!!!!

  2. Nooo...that's the face of absolute cuteness!!!!

  3. That is a face of love, joy, sunshine and happiness in fact it is absolutely angelic.

  4. That is the face of happy!
    Well written article.

  5. i feel if they do have ds they are blessed to have two parents that will love them for who they are and not label them like a can on a grocery shelf....and with all their brothers and sisters they are going to be like the pak...people unfortunately in this society like to put labels on everything normal, not normal HOW ABOUT INDIVIDUALITY !!!!!!

  6. every creature has its own reason, why God create them. May we can learn: what happen behind this? or may God give us exam, how patient we are and make us be more humble

  7. Who cares????? I hope all children have health and happiness and Down Syndrome is not a tragedy.
    Needing to know what two adulterous freaks produce is tragic. You can buy children but you can not buy respect.

  8. Love this!

    One of the shows I watch regularly (and am in fact kind of addicted to) called "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" has a character with Down's. And he steals the show every time he's on the screen. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's awesome.

  9. I'm so glad you wrote this. So many people view DS as a horrible thing, but really children with DS are just as much a blessing as a "normal" child <3

  10. Wonderful post! One of my most favorite little girls in the entire world has Down Syndrome and she is amazing. Thank you for writing this. :)

  11. My granddaughter has DS and she so precious and very smart. I love her so much. She is truly a gift from God!!!

  12. I grew up with a little boy who has DS. I can't imaging life without him. Doctor said he would not live to be 3 years old, he is 52 years old now and my children love him just as much as we did growing up. He is very smart just doesn't have to bost about it like "normal people". We love him and hope he lives for another 50 year. It was not a tragedy but a celebration of life on many different levels through our lives.

  13. Those kids DO NOT HAVE D.S!!!!I have a child with D.S and her twins are not it!!!!

    1. Wow, Anonymous... now tell us how you *really* feel - LOL! For the record, I have a child with DS too (feel free to browse through the rest of my blog) and I don't "believe" the Brangelina twins have DS either... but as I have never met them in person nor have I drawn (and tested) blood samples from either child, I am not in a position to make an official diagnosis public... and frankly, unless you have personally met and tested the twins, neither are you. :) Cheers!

  14. What a cutie your little girl is :) I really enjoyed watching this video now. I started volunteering at a centre for adults with Down's Syndrome (among others) just this morning and I can't wait for Monday to come as I will be there every morning.
    I found this blog via Google and I have to say, I don't usually like to read blogs, but I will surely come back to this one.
    As for Mr and Mrs Smith, we can only hope that they (and all other parents accross the world) do the best job they can and love their kiddies to bits, nomatter what.

    Loli from South Africa :)

  15. I am so loving your daughter. My daughter has Down's syndrome too and i love her so much. She's a special gift from God to me.

  16. Dishonest sensational media presentations like these promote eugenic thinking, which leads to intolerance, which leads to discrimination and genocide. As an Aspergian, I feel as though mainstream society seeks to portray people like me in the worst possible light to eradicate us. It is worse when celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, who strikes me as being extremely ignorant and narcissistic to put it politely, make themselves to be the voices of every parent of autistic children everywhere, when there are millions of mothers and fathers of autistic children who despise her for what she is.

  17. Down Syndrome is not tragic in and of itself, but he complications can be-heart issues, JA, deafness, and others. However, these complications can occur as stand alone health concerns as well, which are tragic for any child.

    I taught a child who had Down Syndrome, very high functioning, but with multiple health issues. He was lovely, smart, a fighter and a great reader in Gr.1. Your daughter sounds like him-sweet and full of potential!

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  22. Beautiful post! My little brother has Down Syndrome and I wouldn't have him in any other way! I can't even imagine my life without him, brings so much joy to my family. Seeing him making progress in life makes me so proud to be his sister. Definitely far from a "tragedy"


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