Caterina Scorsone Says Her Perspective on Motherhood Changed After Daughter's Down Syndrome Diagnosis

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Caterina Scorsone
Rich Polk/Getty Images for POPSUGAR

Caterina Scorsone is getting candid about raising a child with a disability.

The Grey's Anatomystar spoke about how her perspective on motherhood changed after finding out that her 2-year-old daughter, Paloma, was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The actress is also mother to 6-year-old daughter Eliza.

"My whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift," Scorsone, 37, said on an episode of the Motherly podcast released on Thursday. "So when Eliza was born, what I unconsciously thought about my job as a mother was that I was supposed to equip her to survive in a competitive world."

"When Pippa was born, and I realized that she had Down syndrome and she was going to have some physical differences and some cognitive differences, I didn’t know what her capacity would be," she explained. "It really did send me into a tailspin of 'I don't know what I am supposed to do.'"

"How do I mother this child?" she asked herself. "If my job is not to equip her to compete and dominate socially, or educationally, or physically or economically, if I am not supposed to help her do that, what is a mother? What is my job?"

Explaining that at first, she was a "tempest in a teacup," things finally got "really simple."

"This simple voice came to me where I was like, 'I don’t know what to do…Oh, I'm supposed to keep her safe and I'm supposed to make her feel loved,'" she recalled. “And suddenly my understanding of my job as a mother completely distilled and opened.”

That realization also helped her reexamine her relationship with Eliza, and not only focus on her eldest daughter's external qualities.

"I loved Eliza so much because she was so clever, and she was so beautiful and she was so funny … but all those things were external qualities," she explained. "It forced me to realize that I was loving my other daughter and everyone, including myself, for absolutely the wrong reason. I was loving people for their external qualities and not for their essence."

Scorsone was praised back in October, for sharing some beautiful photos of Paloma in support of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Speaking out about the importance of understanding the chromosomal condition, she wrote on Instagram: "Here’s a little info. 1 in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Language is important. Parents don’t have a 1 in 700 'RISK' of having a baby with Down syndrome. Parents have a 1 in 700 CHANCE of having a baby with Down syndrome, just like they have a 50 percent CHANCE of having a girl and a 50 percent CHANCE of having a boy. (With some beautiful variations in there as well)."

The actress has been vocal on her Instagram in supporting children born with Down syndrome, applauding companies like American Girl, Gerber and Anthropologie for including children with Down syndrome in their advertising. She's also lobbied for research funding in her posts.

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