baby with Down syndrome
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 1, 2024 ·  5 min read

Single mother with Down syndrome raises son with same condition. This is her story.

For most people, learning their child was born with a disability can be scary or even heartbreaking. However, many people born with these challenges are often determined to overcome them. Furthermore, it shows others that they can still live a quality life. As was the case with Lisa Newtop. A mom with Down Syndrome who proved to the world she was as capable as any other parent.

Mom with Down Syndrome is Pregnant

Lisa Newtop was 30 years old when she found out she was pregnant. Both she and the baby’s father have Down syndrome, so the pregnancy came as a shock to some people. Sadly, many judged her for making the decision to have the baby. However, Lisa’s mom, Patti, was nothing short of supportive. “I was checking my messages at work, and there was this message from Lisa saying, ’Hi, mom. I just wanted to call to let you know that you’re going to be the grandmother.’” Patti shared.

Amazingly, at the time of her pregnancy announcement, the mom with Down syndrome had already been living in her own apartment for just over a decade. She’d had a steady job and was determined to give her baby the best life possible.

Lisa Newtop with her new born son
Image Credit: Patti White | Facebook

Surprise of a Lifetime

The news of her pregnancy shocked most people because baby Nic’s father also has Down syndrome. In most cases, males with the condition are considered infertile. Nonetheless, Lisa and her boyfriend at the time made a courageous choice. Particularly because, during that time, society had a negative understanding of those with Down syndrome. So much so that many of Lisa’s friends turned their backs on her; meanwhile, their parents believed she was not a good influence on their children. Remember that at the time, Lisa was 30 and well into adulthood. Therefore, many of her friends were adults as well.

Mom with Down Syndrome Perseveres

Regardless of who stayed in her life, the mom with Down syndrome was determined to make a happy life for baby Nic. In 1995, Patti told TODAY, she and her husband had plans to travel, and the pair was happy to finally enjoy a now empty home. Alternatively, when she got the shocking news about her grandson, she knew exactly where she was meant to be.

Patti, you shouldn’t take this on, you can do an open adoption and remain in the baby’s life,” Patti’s friends told her. Nevertheless, Patti moved closer to help Lisa. Meaning the mom with Down syndrome and her own mom, became an indivisible team. Patti and husband Norm packed up their lives from Sacramento, California and headed to be with Lisa in Napa.

“I couldn’t imagine placing the baby for adoption, and the whole way there, I was thinking, ‘Norm is going to leave me.’ We had only been married a few years at that point,” Patti also shared. “This was way more than he had bargained for.

A Strong Foundation

Alternatively, Norm made it clear that his plans were to support his wife, of only a few years. “Four days later, he looked at me and he said, ‘No matter what you decide to do, I’m going to be there for you,’” Patti said.

Lisa and Patti worked side by side, giving baby Nic, who was also born with Down syndrome, the highest quality of life possible and the most love a little boy could ask for. The first few weeks were difficult as Lisa worked through these new experiences. Fortunately, Patti was available to help assist and offer guidance if need be.

Lisa had been in a relationship with Nic’s father during her pregnancy. The pair remained together throughout the pregnancy but separated shortly after Nic was born. In contrast, that didn’t prevent the newly single mom with Down syndrome from loving and providing for her boy.

Lisa, the mom with Down syndrome, proved to the world that she could still love empathically, uninhibitedly, and wholeheartedly. In fact, Lisa loved her new baby so much she felt, like most mothers, that she never wanted him to be sad, upset, or in pain. “The hardest thing for Lisa, is that she’s very sensitive, and when Nic would cry, she assumed he was in pain, and she felt responsible. She couldn’t grasp that babies just cry, often for no reason at all.” Patti disclosed.

Son and Mother with Down Syndrome

Lisa has spent the last few decades completely devoted to her baby boy. In some cases, needing more help than just what her family could provide. As a result, they’ve had specialists in and out of their household, providing professional guidance, and encouragement to the family as they’ve learned to navigate some lesser understood obstacles.

Nearly 30 years later, Nic is living in Stockton with his grandmother and his mother with Down syndrome is in an apartment nearby. Sadly, Norm passed away in 2021 but not before developing a deep bond with Nic, who often called Norm “Dad“. Nic’s father died when he was only five from a heart condition, leaving the boy with “2 moms” and Norm, proving that Patti and her husband profoundly impacted the young man’s life—a young man who aspires to be a busboy, rapper, DJ, and Director.

History of the Condition

Down syndrome is an incredibly common condition. While we know much about it today, the condition once deluded the general population. Previously, many people with Down syndrome were sent to institutions. Either because their families were either ill-equipped to care for them, or ashamed of them. Furthermore, in many states, mandatory sterilization ensured people with Down syndrome and other similar conditions didn’t procreate. This method was an attempt to prevent the passing down of these conditions. Because the laws changed as late as the 1980’s, it’s no wonder the mom with Down syndrome faced so much ridicule.

Lisa, with, the help of her own mom, has changed the way the world views people with certain conditions, as well as, how they viewed fathers or mothers with Down syndrome. Moreover, her son, whom she’s “so proud of” has high ambitions, further proving that people with the condition can have a chance at a life similar to their peers, with the right kind of love and support from those around them.

Keep Reading: Doctors suggested girl with Down syndrome be institutionalized – fast-forward 15 years and she’s a top model


  1. Our History.” Down’s Syndrome Association
  2. Down Syndrome.” Cleveland Clinic
  3. A Woman With Down Syndrome Gives Birth to a Boy With the Same Condition and Raises Him as a Single Mom.Brightside
  4. This mom has Down syndrome and raised a son: How she did it.TODAY Rachel Paula Abrahamson. May 4, 2023.