"Lifting my hand, I placed it on my breastbone and slid it towards my navel. My mid-section felt numb. Pushing down, it was as if I tapped another person's toneless stomach. White gauze held my empty abdomen tight. I had been eight months pregnant."
An emergency C-section, a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome, a foreign country where you're suddenly feeling deeply alien, and your dreams at risk. What would you do? Would it take you down?
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Want more excellent resources? Visit:
Gillian Marchenko is a writer and national speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Literary Mama, MomSense Magazine, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record. She is also the Vice President of GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago, a Down syndrome Achievement Center.
"Her voice is that of the girl next door — immensely real, readable, and sympathetic."
—Annette Gendler, Washington Independent Review of Books
"From the very first page, Marchenko tugs the heartstrings of anyone who has ever experienced—or wanted to experience—parenthood, leaving us with a broadened view of the universe and a deeper understanding of what it really means to love one another."
—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free
"Gillian Marchenko's Sun Shine Down is a moving account of the birth of her third daughter, Polina. She describes her depression after Polly's birth and her own difficulty in loving her child. Beautifully written, this memoir is hopeful without being glib."
—Susan Olasky, World magazine