I was given the opportunity to see my daughter as a blessing

To read on Chicago Tribune website:

Daughter with Down syndrome an inspiration for essay, writing career

By Kathy Cichon  August 26, 2016


Naperville resident Nancy Goodfellow has had two stories published in « Chicken Soup for the Soul » books this year. Both focus on daughter Lily, left, who has Down syndrome. (Photo provided by Nancy Goodfellow / HANDOUT)

Nancy Goodfellow is looking to make a difference — one story at a time.

Her essay, « My Answered Prayer, » is just one example. The Naperville author’s story is among those included in the new « Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude. » The collection of 101 real-life stories, released Tuesday, aims to help readers experience the benefits of gratitude and realize the impact thankfulness can have on their lives.

Her essay, which had previously been published in a National Association for Down Syndrome newsletter, tells the story of how she and her husband responded when they learned their soon-to-arrive daughter would have Down syndrome.

« When I saw the (topic of) gratitude, I was like, ‘Oh I have the perfect one for that,’  » Goodfellow said. « So I was really glad that I could kind of dig that up because it has been an article that I’ve had close to my heart, that I feel strongly about, and I was thrilled to get it out there to a much wider audience. »

In her essay, she recounts how they dealt with news they received during an ultrasound 20 weeks into her pregnancy. They were told their daughter likely had a chromosomal defect that was « incompatible with life. » The best-case scenario, the doctors said, would be Down syndrome.

« We spent the next three days praying our baby would be OK. … We prayed for Down syndrome, » Goodfellow wrote. « Our prayers were answered, and we received the most precious gift we could have ever hoped for — we were having a daughter, with Down syndrome. »

While they encountered more health concerns throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, they focused on the positive. Goodfellow wrote she would forever be grateful for the circumstances surrounding her prenatal diagnosis.

« I was given the opportunity to see my daughter as a blessing, a child who not only survived, but also thrived in spite of her challenges, » she wrote.

The essay is her second to appear in the « Chicken Soup for the Soul » series of books. Last fall, her essay « Perspective » was published in the volume « Think Possible. » That piece is also about her daughter Lily, now an eighth-grader at Madison Junior High School in Naperville.

« I was all about putting things into perspective and more about when we got Lily’s diagnosis, the fact we didn’t think she was going to survive, » Goodfellow said. « And so then when you end up holding this baby with Down syndrome in your arms, and she’s pink and yelling and crying, and you get to actually hold her when everybody said you wouldn’t get to hold her and she’d be air-lifted to a different hospital. So it was just all those things about keeping it in perspective. »


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