After Connie Cronin gave birth to her son, Jimmy, her doctor told her, “It is best if you do not see him. You do not want to get attached.”
Jimmy had Down Syndrome. At the time, from the 1960s to early 80s, health professionals would frequently advised parents to place children born with Down Syndrome in institutions.
“What families were told back forty years ago was ‘don’t take your child home… forget them, put them in an institution,’” Beth Moran, area director of the Department of Developmental Services Brockton Area Office, said.
Cronin, of Hanson, decided instead to raise her son at home. She is one of five local mothers featured in “Five Courageous Women; Raising Children with Down Syndrome,” by Anne Tucker Roberts of Scituate.
Roberts said the mothers in her book were “pioneers.”
“Women are… spectacularly capable, but I never heard this kind of courage,” Roberts said. She said the book honors mothers that were doing the unthinkable.
Hazel Straughn, of Hanover, whose story is part of the book, was advised by doctors to place her son Edward in an institution. She was prevented from nursing her baby in the hospital and was peppered with questions from doctors, nurses and social workers about how she would cope if she took her child home.
“The next few weeks were hell,” Straughn told Roberts, but “I was…