Mother’s ‘gift of delight’ inspires work

Published: August 13, 2007 | 6631st good news item since 2003

Nancy Iannone recalls always having had a “positive view” of people with Down syndrome.

Now she knows why. Nancy and her husband Vincent are parents of Gabriella, their fourth child, who was born with Down a little over two years ago.

“She’s just a delight,” says Nancy, a Washington Township resident, “but I didn’t realize she’d be delightful in so many ways.”

A former attorney and teacher, Nancy is one of 63 mothers of children with Down who have written chapters in a new book, “Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children With Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives.” Her chapter (No. 30) is titled, appropriately, “The Gift of Delight.”

The book is on sale at Barnes & Noble in Deptford, where Nancy recently took part in a book signing. She also was among six interviewed by Channel 6’s health reporter Anita Brickman.

Nancy admits when she was told her unborn daughter had Down she had difficulty accepting the news: “I slammed the door in my brain to hold back the flood of grief that was threatening to take over, and I shut down to everything but pure logic. Abortion, there it was, right in front of me.”

But a few days later she knew “everything is going to be OK.”

And then Gabriella was born.

“After awhile, I realized that we had moved beyond surviving to truly living. Gabriella was amazing, endearing, loving, and beautiful. My other three girls adored her, and my husband, who originally was nervous for them, saw that Gabriella would only enrich their lives.

“Gabriella continues to amaze us. She loves to sway to music, splash in the bath or the pool, and squeeze her sisters’ faces. We went away this weekend and took Gabriella with us because she is still nursing. When we came home, a near-riot ensued as her sisters fought over her. She is learning sign language at a pace that has amazed her sign teacher.

“Though I delight in her physical and cognitive progress, the true joy I receive is seeing her shining, laughing face, especially when she thinks she is playing a trick on me.”

She closes with this: “My baby is not a diagnosis, not a list of her potential woes. She is a beautiful person, full of laughter and grins. There is a world of possibilities laid before her, and I love exploring those possibilities with her.”

A 1985 WTHS graduate, Nancy married Vincent “during the blizzard of 1993.” They also are the parents of Samantha, 9, Maria, 7, and Elena, 5. She has not practiced law since their birth of their second child. She is a member of the board of trustees of The Sensory Playhouse, an open-play facility for kids with special needs.

Nancy’s goal is to comfort and give hope to parents of children who are diagnosed with Down.

Meanwhile, she is thrilled to witness her own daughter’s rapid development.

Gabriella recently won an award from the Gloucester County Special Services School District for progress in early intervention.

Published in Motherhood
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