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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

Raising Owen: An Extra-Ordinary Memoir on Motherhood

Suzanne Lezotte

Raising Owen: An Extra-ordinary Memoir of Motherhood is the story of a first time mother coming to terms with her oldest son's surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome shortly after his birth.

Like any first time mother, Suzanne Lezotte assumed having her first baby would come with all the usual pleasures and trials of motherhood, except one-an unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome when her son Owen was seven days old. Her every expectation of parenthood was derailed. The fantastic plans she had laid out in her imagination for her perfect child crumbled, and forced her to confront her own beliefs, and to embrace a world of uncertainty.

Suzanne shares details of her own transformation from initial complete grief and denial to total acceptance and advocacy for her son, just as he is. She takes the reader on a quest for full inclusion for Owen from preschool through high school. "Life will not be a special needs class" became her motto and she still uses it as her guide today.

While Suzanne's book is about the particularities of raising a son with Down syndrome, it is more broadly about being a mother and the valuable lessons we encounter when raising a child.

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Raising Owen: An Extra-Ordinary Memoir on Motherhood
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