“I kept my special needs baby”

Mary Heng, 40, opens about how she felt when she found out that her baby girl had Down Syndrome.


“Kayleen is just like any other 6-year-old girl. She’s bubbly, active, and yet a handful at times. She is loving, sociable, enthusiastic, but she also tests our limits.

She has her good moods and lousy days. She enjoys music and sings along happily even to an unfamiliar tune. She used to love the movie Frozen and would request to listen to the songs over and over again. Her current fave is The Pirate Fairy (a Tinklebell series) which she will get her older brother to put on the TV for her.

Kayleen gains smiles and high-fives from passers-by with her friendly personality. She is generous with her kisses and hugs. She brightens my every day. She is highly in tune with people's emotions and she will always be one of the first to offer comfort when she senses that someone is sad or hurt.

Kayleen has Down Syndrome (DS). She has come a long way, having overcome many big medical hurdles which many of us adults have never gone through. She amazes and inspires many of us who know her personally or have read about her through my blog.

There are five of us in our family – I’m Mary, a secondary school science teacher and I’m currently on no-pay leave as a stay-at-home mom. My husband Chee Young works in the civil service, and we have three children, Kayleen, 6, Lucas, 9, and Charlene, 12.

We enjoy simple pleasures - like a ‘movie night’ at home on Friday evenings with our pillows in our arms, and ‘special nights’ where the kids bunk in with us on Fridays and Saturdays.


We always prayed for a healthy baby even though I had secretly hoped that she would not have the condition at birth.


Charlene, my firstborn, is more mature than most of her peers. She is the big sister of the family and helps to take care of and play with Kayleen. Lucas is the loving brother who annoys his sisters with his high energy. Kayleen, of course, is the baby of the family, doted on by everyone.

Each of my pregnancies was different and more difficult than the one before – this could be due to my age. When I was pregnant with Kayleen, I had very bad morning sickness which lasted the whole day, throughout my entire pregnancy. I had to take anti-nausea pills before my meals so that I could keep my food down.

We were told about the possibility of Kayleen having Down Syndrome (DS) at the fifth month detailed scan. Abortion was never an option, and through my pregnancy, we always prayed for a healthy baby even though I had secretly hoped that she would not have the condition at birth.


Mary tells us about Kayleen’s birth – next!