Caterina Scorsone Recalls Moments After Delivering Daughter, Who Has Down Syndrome: 'I Was Scared'

Kate Coyne
·3 min read
Caterina Scorsone Recalls Moments After Delivering Daughter, Who Has Down Syndrome: 'I Was Scared'
Caterina Scorsone Recalls Moments After Delivering Daughter, Who Has Down Syndrome: 'I Was Scared'

Caterina Scorsone Says When Daughter Was Born There Was an "Instant Connection" With Disability Community

The actress opens up about how having children redefined her definition of kindness, what she’s learned about cognitive diversities and disabilities after her daughter was born with Down syndrome, and how much she values the disability community.

Caterina Scorsone's initial fear in raising a child with Down syndrome was quickly replaced with hope and positivity.

The 39-year-old Grey's Anatomy actress welcomed her daughter Pippa in November 2016, and for PEOPLE's cover story this week, she opens up about being afraid, admitting she didn't know much about what her daughter's future would hold.

"When my daughter Pippa was born, I was scared. I didn't know anything about trisomy 21, the name for the occurrence of a third copy of the 21st chromosome, better known as Down syndrome," Scorsone says. "... I didn't know anything. All I knew about Down syndrome was that people were afraid of it, so I figured I should be too."

Scorsone — who is also mom to daughters Eliza, 8, and Lucky, 10 months — recalls feeling overwhelmed soon after giving birth to Pippa, and how her mindset shifted away from fear when she cradled her newborn.

"I looked at the tiny baby who would grow into my funny, stubborn, beautiful little Pippa, and I saw how limited my life had been until that moment. How small and contracted. In that moment, the triplicate 21st chromosome that gave her those beautiful, dancing crescent-moon eyes became a tiny skeleton key."

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Rebecca Coursey-Rugh Caterina Scorsone and daughter Pippa

Rebecca Coursey-Rugh

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Caterina Scorsone streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

Scorsone says "there was nothing wrong with my baby," adding that while having a child with Down syndrome is admittedly "scary," there is fear in considering the many "uncertainties and realities of life" with any child.

"I don't know what kinds of challenges will come up for her down the road. I don't know if she'll find a job that is the right fit for her interests and talents," she says of Pippa's future. "I don't know if she'll find a partner who will get her sense of humor and will celebrate her life every day with small and large gestures of love."

"But," adds Scorsone, "I don't know that about my other daughters either. Pippa is perfect exactly as she is. So are you, and so am I."

"When Pippa was born, all I knew about Down syndrome was that people were afraid of it, so I figured I should be too. But it turns out people are afraid of a lot of things that don't scare me anymore. And the greatest of these is love."

RELATED: Caterina Scorsone 'Awestruck by the Love' from Her Daughters on First Mother's Day After Split

Back in April 2019, Scorsone, who shares her children with ex Rob Giles, opened up to PEOPLE about parenting, saying that "one thing that changes when you have kids is that nothing is in your control anymore."

She added at the time, "You have to roll with whatever is happening and there are people that are now in your life very intimately and in your space who have distinctly different personalities from you."

For more on Caterina Scorsone's life with her three daughters, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.