The grief and gift of mothering a child with Down syndrome

Ace, we're so happy you have Down syndrome. Because we love you so much.

mother looking at boy on beach
Maggie Beadle Photography

We live in the city, so we've parallel-parked six blocks from our destination. August gets out of the car, and I unstrap his little brother, sling him around my hip. He's two but at 22 pounds, he's the size his brother was at nine months.

We've been talking about the movies my fourth grader desperately longs to see, and the injustice of my parenting choices, when I change the subject. "Hey Ace," I say to the toddler in my arms, "this is where Mommy was when I found out you would have Down syndrome. Walking this exact sidewalk, waiting for this very same light."

August forgets his nine-year-old angst for a moment and reaches for his brother's head, moving Ace's thick blond hair across his forehead. "Yeah, Acey," he says. "And we're so happy you have Down syndrome. Because we love you so much."


There's not a good way to tell this story. Believe me, I've tried.

Like every love story, it's complicated. There is pain and kindness and devastation.

I could start with the prenatal echocardiogram or how I shopped at Trader Joe's one hour after getting the diagnosis on the phone. I cried up and down the frozen food aisle. (Not the best emotional state for responsible purchases.)

I could tell you, readers, about the letter I wrote the nurses on the labor and delivery floor, and printed out to carry with me to the hospital, packed in the overnight bag beside my robe and hairbrush. "Our baby will most likely have Down syndrome," the letter said. "Please don't whisper around us. Please don't say you're sorry. We are celebrating his birth."

I sounded brave in that letter. I sounded like a woman of conviction, unrattled. The kind of woman who would be the advocate her baby with Down syndrome would need. The truth? As I typed it my fingers shook, my breath was short. I took my hands off the computer keys, closed the laptop and pressed my forehead against the cool metal and wept.

I really should start at the beginning, though.

I gave birth to two little boys before Ace. Beautiful, strong, both in the 95th percentile in height. Both good eaters and early talkers. I had no reason to think my third baby would be any different. I was 35 and healthy. My husband and I were hoping my 20-week ultrasound would reveal that we were having a girl. It had to be; the pregnancy had felt so different.

It turns out my pregnancy was different. The ultrasound showed a boy with a calcium deposit in his heart, a common physical marker for Down syndrome. Still, based on my age, our baby had only a 1 in 476 chance of carrying an extra 21st chromosome. It was unlikely, I told myself. I had some blood work done to rule it out, to give me peace of mind for the rest of the pregnancy.

I answered the call from the genetic counselor as I walked from the car to a gymnastics class for my then-three year old, my second-born son. I was pushing his stroller and had stopped at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to change. The counselor was young and cheerful, and asked for me as if she were my barista, calling my name in a crowded café. Then she got to the results: Positive. That was the word she used. The tests came back positive.

I felt a whoosh of fog rush into my brain, trying to unravel and reorder that word, neurons firing in every direction. Positive, positive, positive.

She said there was a 99.7 percent chance that my child would have Down syndrome. I pushed the stroller forward, stepping into the street. Okay, I said. Okay.

I walked into the park, past the log my kids always crawled through, past the community garden, the old stadium on Frederick Street. I slipped my phone into my pocket and watched the world harden into dark slanted walls around me, pressing in, tunneling everything.

Grief is a strange thing, especially when what you've lost is an idea. I didn't lose a child while walking from the car to gymnastics that day in December 2014. I lost a more typical vision of what I thought my life would look like, what I had imagined our family would be. I lost an expectation: a neurotypical child, one who might play a sport well, or learn an instrument, one who would probably be an early reader. I lost an assumption that now seems wildly simplistic. The truth is we never really know who our children will be, their abilities, their weaknesses.

I'd been a mother for almost seven years at that point. I knew the complexity of my children, how limitation is always there, right beside every person's gifts. Alongside every spark of delight in a child's personality are the challenges they often face from their earliest moments. Still, I sat in the bleachers at the tiny tots gymnastics class and wept for that lost vision of a typically developing child, and then woke each morning in a haze, staring at my pregnant belly, the baby I wanted so badly. I mourned for that baby who never existed, the one without Trisomy 21.

I grieved for the "normal" life I feared I was leaving behind.



The truth is that, unlike other disabilities, Down syndrome's genetic code affects every cell of Ace's body, which means that Down syndrome is not simply an intellectual disability. It affects his physical growth, his milestones, his personality, his presence in the world.

There is no Ace without Down syndrome. Ace without Down syndrome is another child, one I'm sure I would have loved, but not this child. To love Ace is to celebrate all that he is.

Here's what our life is like. One of my boys suffers from anxiety. His secret weapon, his therapist has helped him realize, is the little brother he loves so deeply. "When you feel out of control," his therapist taught him, "remember to see yourself the way Ace sees you. He knows the best parts of you." When my son has a panic attack Ace enters his room, settles in beside him, and waits. Eventually, my son gathers his brother and holds him. Ace leans in for the hug.

I like to think his extra 21st chromosome has actually given him a deeper intuition than the rest of us, a secret antenna that allows him to move toward our pain. Ace carries inside him a kind of magic that causes the people he encounters to soften, to take a deep breath.

One of my boys often whispers to me, "Mom, I love Ace more than anyone in the world. Way more than you and Dad." I tell him I totally understand.

My letter was delivered to the nurses' station while I waddled and deep-breathed myself into the delivery room. When my youngest baby came from me, he was wiped clean and placed into my arms.

His face was perfectly circular. His features were tiny, his eyes, almonds. His nose was smaller and flatter than his brothers' had been. He was, and still is, beautiful.

And as I held him—the smallest of my all my babies, a child that many in this world would reject or dismiss, a child who will always need more help, more support—I didn't cry. I felt the grief lift from my chest. Oh, it's you? I thought. I know you.

Almost three years later I am used to people staring when we walk into a room. Our family says his cuteness is his superpower, capable of warming the coldest hearts in his vicinity. His smile is huge, and though he has teeth, we can hardly see them when he laughs. He has the best eyebrows in the family, perfectly angled as if he is always surprised. He wears thick baby glasses that magnify his big blue eyes.



We call Ace our Minister of Joy. He waves and blows kisses like a princess on a Disney float. He loves music. He lies down with his face on the speaker of his CD player, staring intently at the slowly changing glowing-red number. When the song ends he yells out, "ah duh!" (all done). Yesterday, I found him in his diaper dancing alone in the middle of the room, twirling, then raising his arms up and bending his knees as if he were about blast himself into space. Maybe that was his plan—space travel. I always wish I knew more about what happens in that mind of his.

There's more and more debate about his mind, the very brain that pretends to be a rocket, or grasps the intensity of his brother's needs, or stubbornly refuses to eat anything that isn't crunchy. There is debate online in which those who've never loved a child with an intellectual disability (and some who have) weigh in on whether or not such a child should be carried to term, given the sort of life where intellectual and medical challenges affect every facet of their lives. What tends to be missing from those debates is the part of our reality that most parents of kids with DS don't know how to define.

I call it The Magic.

I have always been emotionally tuned in, able to intuit the discomfort or judgment of others near me. So I'm aware when the stranger beside me at the park is uncomfortable with my son's presence. (It happens.) But it's The Magic that allows me to know the truth. If the stranger at the playground knew, she would envy my life. Yes, there are the doctor appointments and therapies, and battles to get Ace placed in the sort of classroom we believe is best for him. Yes, feeding is difficult and I worry about his weight daily. And, of course, future grief is waiting for us: I will cry when he struggles to make friends, when he's the kid who isn't invited to the birthday party. The highs will be higher, the lows lower.

But what the stranger beside me at the park cannot yet grasp is how there are moments when Ace reaches for me, places his hand on my cheek, and I feel my own healing, the dark tunnel of his diagnosis falling away to reveal a sky that's brighter than I thought possible. She'd believe that Ace is rebuilding my life's vision, how that future is messier and deeper than I ever dreamed—wild with love.



There are so many clichés about Down syndrome. The story is often the same: The family grieves, they grow, and then they realize that their child's Down syndrome is the best thing that could've happened to them.

Clichés' are simplistic, of course. They fail to acknowledge the complexity of our daily lives, the tears we've shed in the midst of loving him, the density of the joy and fear we can carry within ourselves for one human. But the clichés are also there for a reason.

Ace's life has redefined motherhood for me, has brought me into the second half of my life, where all my children's abilities are richer and more powerful than any diagnosis can define.

And so, yes, what August said to him was true. Ace, we're so happy you have Down syndrome. Because we love you so much.

Micha Boyett is the author of Found: A Story Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer. and one of the hosts of The Lucky Few Podcast, a weekly podcast celebrating the lives of people with Down syndrome. She is an Instagram enthusiast, where she shares her writing on spirituality and the slow life, and also documents her journey with Ace. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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    When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

    In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

    With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

    Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

    Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.

    $159.99

    Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

    There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)

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    Breast Milk Storage Bags

    With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.

    $9.99

    Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

    Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.

    $14.99

    Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

    No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.

    $29.99

    Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

    With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.

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    This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

    Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

    When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

    Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

    1. Prep snacks on Sunday

    This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

    2. When in doubt, go for fruit

    Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

    3. Pair snacks with a dip

    Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

    4. Have high-protein options readily available

    Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

    5. Always keep the pantry stocked

    Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

    6. Make cracker tartines

    I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

    • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
    • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
    • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

    7. Pre-make smoothie pops

    The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

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    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Stomp Racers

    As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

    $19.99

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    Sand play set

    B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

    For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

    $17.95

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $79.99

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $24.75

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

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    Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

    Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

    MoMo Productions/Getty Images

    If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

    But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

    Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

    In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.


    The correlations between screen time and children's health

    But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

    Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

    It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

    Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

    "When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

    A novel look at screen time in adolescents

    The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

    Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

    Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

    The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

    Children's health

    Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

    The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

    Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

    Motherhood knows no bounds.

    When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

    The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.


    Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

    Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

    Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

    Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

    "When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

    We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

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