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The Year My Son and I Were Born: A Story of Down Syndrome, Motherhood, and Self-Discovery

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  211 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A brutally honest yet beautiful journey of how one mother learned to bond with her disabled son andgained a new perspective on life. ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by GPP Life
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Jodi Robinson
I was so moved by this open, honest and true account of a mother who gives birth to her 7th child--her son Thomas who is borne with an extra chromosome, a down syndrome baby. With six other children, a busy husband, and predisposed notions about disabilities, this mother shares her journey to accept this new life and this new role as mother to Thomas. The book explores coming to terms with real anxieties about disabilities and along the way you fall in love with the story, with the family, and w ...more
Lyn
Apr 28, 2009 Lyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This was so good. It was emotional and honest and heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time. I crave memoirs with honesty and this felt so honest to me. I thought so many of her feelings and fears and expectations were applicable to all mothers - not just those raising children with disabilities.
Carol
This was a great book. It is about a mother who gives birth to her seventh child and he has downs syndrome. It is very real and honest and follows her ups and downs as she comes to accept and love her new son for who he is and realizes that she can love her other children also for who they are and not what they achieve. It will especially ring clear for those who have a handicapped child or those like me who did not know at first what thier newborns abilities would be. It really brought me back ...more
Crystal
This book is truly remarkable.
It is now one of my favorites.

This tells the story of a mother of 6, Kathryn Soper, who goes through a journey beginning with having her 7th child 10 weeks early, not only does that come with its own set of problems, but then she finds out that he has Down syndrome. She battles with her thoughts about that and she takes the reader through her slow journey to get through all the obstacles.

When i read it i could imagine that i was right there, in the mix of it all.
She
...more
Robin Nicholas
This one is a struggle for me to review. I had conflicting thoughts and emotions throughout the entire book. It is well written and very honest, BUT....
There a two strong sides to me. One side is the "just get over it and do what you need to do" side, and the "wow, I can really sympathize with what you are going through...and it has to be really tough"
I have to say I am a little shocked at how much this diagnosis rocked her world. True a lot of the hardship she was going through had to do with t
...more
Shelah
A couple of days ago, a friend came over to my house and asked if she could borrow a few books. I took her through my unpacked and accessible stash and handed her this as a possibility. "Oh, this one is really good," I said. "Is it just good because she's a friend of yours?" she asked. "No, it's legitimately good," I assured her. She took it home with her.

I'm interested to hear what my friend has to say, but I really do think that Kathy Soper's memoir is legitimately good, excellent even, and no
...more
Amy Hillis
This is a cleanly-written, sometimes humorous, and insightful glimpse into a year in the life of a mother and her son with Down's Syndrome. I read it in hours and found it both riveting and disturbing. I am a lover of a non-fiction tale and was suitably sucked in immediately.

The author recounts many difficulties including the horrors of a premature birth and her son's stay in a NICU, a strained marriage, the trials of listening to others fumble with words over her situation, family that could no
...more
Eliza
I polished this off in an afternoon. Opened my eyes and heart wider to the possibilities for growth through trials for all of us as humans, and to our capacity to love. Very tender, a little bleak at times, very hopeful at times, maybe a little too analytical/philosophical at times (pot -> kettle: black), and not sentimental. Recommended.

I also very much enjoyed Soper's essay compilations, "Gifts" and "The Mother in Me." (she was the editor and wrote I think one essay for each.)
Sharon
WOW! I wish I'd read this book first, of all the books on Down syndrome. It was told with such raw honesty and feeling, and I think a lot of the things the author went through after the birth of her son, are a lot of the same things Lindsey and I have felt after Lily's birth.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book. Lindsey liked it a lot, too, better than "Expecting Adam".

Lora
A brutally honest personal journey for this mom of a child with Down's Syndrome. "...Thomas's radiant presence touched us every day. How it happened was still a mystery. Maybe that extra chromosome acted like Teflon preventing anything heavy or dark from sticking to his soul. But I still couldn't believe that his soul was that much different from mine...or anyone else's." (322)
Emilie
3.5 of 5 stars

This book is very hard to really write a review on. First, I should mention that I accept this book as this woman's truthful journey through accepting, dealing with and eventually flourishing after the diagnosis of her 7th child having Down Syndrome. The text itself is well written, well thought out and emotionally moving.

Where I had difficulty is in her coping process itself. Although there were many thoughts and ideas I understood and sympathized with, there were also many times
...more
Barbara
Kathryn is still in the hospital and her mom and the children have arrived. They have to check immunizations and cleanse the children. This book is so powerful. I've never been a parent so I try to glean what I can from experiences of parents. As I met a lot of parents with special needs online, I have learned so much about love. Not all parents can handle a special need's child and I don't want to judge those who are not able to handle this emotionally, financially, or spiritually. Some people ...more
Tanya W
Great book so far, very thoughtful and easy to relate to. That was how I felt after reading the first couple of chapters... but now it's far from favorite reading. It seems more about Ms. Soper and her Post-Partum Depression and personal mental health (which she finally starts to deal with through medication 2/3 of the way through the book... all the while putting down people who turn to meds to deal with mental health issues... go figure).

For some reason I sometimes feel guilty doing a negative
...more
Jessica
I'm guessing Ms. Soper intentionally wrote her bitter, nasty, fatalist last line into each chapter on purpose, but I did find it a bit too much after a while. Despite this one complaint I was keenly interested in the story she told of her own coming to terms with her seventh child having Trisomy 21, or Down's Syndrome.

Yes, she was honest. She excelled at painting the picture of her psyche, her chaotic home, her prison bedroom, her cold marriage, her terrible plummet into an inability to cope wi
...more
Michael Austin
The epigraph to Kathryn Lynard Soper's THE YEAR MY SON AND I WERE BORN comes from the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran: "Your pain is the breaking of the shell which encloses your understanding." This is a brilliantly chosen quotation--one that sums up the heart and soul of the book as only a great poet can do. It is a book about learning from a painful situation and growing from an unanticipated, and unchosen, challenge.

Like all great memoirists, Soper is brutally honest with her readers. She does n
...more
Lisa
I am having a hard time deciding how much I liked this book. It was interesting enough that it kept me up late continuing to turn the pages, but on some level it fell short of what I expected. In addition to Down syndrome, there are some other dominating themes in the story as well: the struggles of caring for a large family (I can relate); her Mormon faith (I had a hard time with all the religious stuff); and postpartum depression. Honestly, I thought the first half+ of the book was dominated m ...more
Cindy
I don't often put books that I read in here but this one I wanted to. I saw a mention of it recently, and since I'm still excited that our library system here has LDS books I put it on hold and it came in today. The kids wanted to go to the pool tonight so I took it along to read, and ended up reading the whole thing. There were things about the book I didn't love, but as a whole I really really loved it. She does such a great job of showing the pit of depression and despair she was experiencing ...more
Lisa
I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book. I was half-expecting a sappy, "poor pity me" type of book. What I found was a well-written journey of acceptance, understanding and love. I appreciated the openness and honesty of the author to share thoughts and feelings that showed her weaknesses. I ended up really liking the book. I have a special needs child and found that although our journeys were not the same, there was enough in common to help me feel a bond with the author. Good book!
'becca
Her little Thomas was born just a year or so before William I think. It was so good to read that she has had some of the same thoughts as I have had. I didn't and don't have all of her challenges, but we both have a little boy with Down syndrome. And, therefore, have experienced some life-changing things the same.

It's nice to know there are other parents out there who don't buy into the stereotypes (even the positive ones...though of course I'd take them over the negative ones any day). Some of
...more
Kris Wells
This is a VERY honest book about loving a child with Down Syndrome. The author is an obvious perfectionist with older children who excelled in everything they did. She worried she could not love a child who was not as smart or quick as her others. At times, I cringed as I read her feelings but they felt very real and I can't say I wouldn't have a lot of the same feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it made me appreciate that no family is perfect even if it appears to be on the outside. ...more
Denise
This book has reminded me that all is not as it appears when we look at other people. And that we, as mothers, just do the best we can when we are raising our children and hopefully our best will be enough. This book is a well written, very honest account of a clinically depressed mom trying to cope with life after having her seventh child 10 weeks early and coming to terms with his Down Syndrome. It was eye-opening to have her share her thought processes. She literally had to go through the gri ...more
Roisin
One of my favourite memoirs of all time (if not my favourite). Raw, heart-wrenching and ultimately beautiful.
Emily
As a mother to a DS baby I found this book to be wonderful. I simply couldn't put it down. I did have a hard time understanding some of the authors feels but it was great for me to read about someone else's journey & emotions. In the beginning a DS diagnosis takes you on such a roller coaster ride. You mourn for the the baby you thought you'd have & have to adjust to what life will now be for both you & your baby. Everyone grieves differently & even though I didn't have as hard a ...more
Carly
I could relate to so many elements in this book. In fact, it felt like I could have written some of it. I appreciated the author's honesty in writing about her feelings and experience. Opening yourself up like that is such a difficult thing to do. This book made me laugh and cry in turns. Thanks to my friend for sending me the book. I think this was actually the first non-fiction book I've read without falling asleep in the middle of it (except from sheer exhaustion, which is what happens when y ...more
Maralise
An intimate portrait of grief, the kind that mourns the hidden fears of loss and failure that lurk within us all. And of course, the kind of grief that tranforms its bearer, teaching them about the long dark night but also about the beauty of the brilliant morning sun. Yes, this is a book about mothering a child with Downs Syndrome, but also a universal story of motherhood and self-awareness. It may be trite to say that it's a story about love, but as with all things, love has both yin and yang. ...more
Allyson
Such an amazing book!! I'd recommend this to every parent of a special-needs kiddo, if not every parent. Thomas sounds like the sweetest kid, as well as his brothers and sisters. There were times when I could relate to what he and his mom went through, times when I wanted to just curl up and cry for them and times that I laughed out loud. It's books like this, that give parents a little bit of hope, gratitude and time to focus on them....especially when their kid has something that's not classif ...more
Shanda
This book is excellent, honest, touching, and life-altering. I had my eyes opened to my own shortcomings. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. I was moved to tears on several occasions, especially while the author was relating her experiences with the NICU as the memories of the isolettes and alarms from my own baby's time in the NICU are still recent. The author shared her journey of self-discovery while guiding me on my own as I read her story. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it do ...more
Goodworth1
I thought this book was much more about the author exploring and dealing with her depression than about her experience as a mother of a child with DS. The attitude throughout was very fatalistic and negative. Then, at the end, she finally reaches out to the DS community, not because she sees value in connecting or reaching out to other families affected by DS or she suddenly sees the gift her child is but rather, to sell her book. It just rubbed me the wrong way the entire time I read it.
Rebecca
It really was an intriguing story- I read the entire book from start to finish. But I just have to say that there were times I was truly bored of all the whining and complaining! I'm sure it really was THAT HARD, and she did a fantastic job of conveying how it must have felt. But she could have done just as good of a job with quite a bit less of the whining. After a while I stopped feeling bad for her because she seemed unwilling to just dig in and make the best of it.
Budd Dwyer
This is OK if one thinks that Down kids should be carried until they reach a sort of half-life. Sarah Palin made her whole career out of popping a kid -- she called it "Lapdance" -- even though she knew it would be completely worthless at birth. For those of us who think that abortion on Down kids should be not only supported but paid for by the government, this book will be a letdown. I suppose the mother is smarter than the kid, but not by much.
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