NEW YEAR, NEW SEASON, NEW THREADS.
Meet Amanda Booth: mother, actress, model, and vocal advocate for the Down Syndrome community. For today's Sunday Stories we're taking a dive into her incredible life, positive outlook, and sage advice as to how we can be a little more present in our own lives.
Q: Amanda, tell us a little about yourself. You are a mother, wife and model. Where did it all begin?
A: Hello! Yes, I wear many hats! I started modeling 16 years ago when I dropped out of college. I was on an athletic scholarship, and I got injured so I thought it was about time I went to NYC to try and chase after my dreams! It took me a few months to get signed to an agency… I traveled to all of the markets over four years and realized my heart was really in acting! Twelve years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and have been making all my dreams come true!
Q: Your husband, Mike, and yourself have been married for 8 years. We want to hear your love story.
A: I met Mike ten years ago! My roommate at the time started working for him and we met at the work holiday party. I begged her for his phone number for months, and she refused to give it to me. Then out of the blue, I got a message “hey, it’s Mike. I stole your number from Kerris’ phone.” Well… we were married two years later, and Micah was born a year and a half after that. If you ask anyone who knows us well they’ll tell you we are both “do-ers”. And I guess you could say the proof is in the pudding.
Q: Micah, your son, was diagnosed with non-verbal Autism and Down Syndrome. We know Micah is your world and want to hear about his diagnosis and life with Micah.
A: Well, in efforts to not write an entire novel, here’s the condensed version… When Micah was born, the on-staff pediatrician suggested he had Down Syndrome. She suggested his almond eyes and low muscle tone as the reasons why. Well, Mike is Mexican and that accounts for the eyes, and he was growth restricted in utero, which could have accounted for the muscle tone. He was born incredibly healthy (we were so grateful), so we took him home. It wasn’t until he was three months old that our doctor recommended we do the blood draw to find out “once and for all”. Turns out that he did have DS! The biggest blessing I could have had was getting to know Micah for who he was in those first three months, and not based on any assumptions words on a piece of paper would have lead to. It’s really sad that anyone thinks they have the power to define another human being… I think that grace I was gifted with is what lead to “Life with Micah”. It didn’t take a whole lot of thought to realize how impactful having current and useful, hopeful information could be for someone going through what we just experienced. We took to social media to hopefully be a beacon of light, reality, and optimism for other families. It was two years ago that we received the secondary diagnosis of non-verbal sensory processing disorder (Autism). We ended up doing the very same thing we tried to establish…we took to social media to look for families like ours (yet again), to get a glimpse into what this new life could look like. Social media can be the most beautiful tool if used correctly.
Q: You are a huge advocate and spokesperson for the DS community. Do you have any organizations that you especially love working with?
A: Yes!! The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is doing incredible work by way of their medical research for kiddos like mine! I hadn’t realized that DS was the least funded genetic condition by the United States Government before having Micah. It’s an honor to be a part of their family, helping to raise awareness to this cause! Last year I was honored with their Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy award, and it’s safe to say it was a highlight of my life!!
I also love Ruby's Rainbow who gives away grants to adults with DS attending college! It’s incredible to see these young adults getting to experience the same level of independence as their peers!
Q: You have been very open about trying to get pregnant with another baby. We believe that this is a taboo subject that many young women struggle with. Can you tell us a little about that?
A: Yes! My first pregnancy (before Micah) ended in a miscarriage. I was young, and although it was painful to get through, when we tried the very next time is when I conceived Micah. I didn’t think a whole lot about it after that since, you know, everyone drives home “how common” it is. Then, when Micah was three I was pregnant again. I didn’t assume that things would go awry, I guess I was still a bit naive. I miscarried at ten weeks, and this time was in full labor for a day while my body shed the pregnancy. It was literally painful, and emotionally very difficult. I decided I never wanted to try again – there was no way I could go through that again… Three more years later we found ourselves living in a new place, seeing Micah play with our neighbors, and for the first time seeing how incredible a peer (or sibling) could be. For him, I was willing to try again… This time it was even worse than before because my tests were negative for so long. Long after they should have read positive if the pregnancy were “viable”. Then, all of a sudden, they said positive. I took about ten more tests over a few days. Some said yes, some said no. I knew it wasn’t right… The day I was supposed to go in for follow up blood work, I started to bleed. I didn’t look into why I miscarried, which, a lot of people ask. I imagine most people want to know so they can imagine it would never happen to them. I don’t know why, but I’m at peace with everything. I’m more grateful than ever for my little miracle homie rockin' his extra chromie.
Q: Your family has recently relocated part time to Oregon. How has life in Oregon changed?
A: Well, I’m not sure which has changed our life more – Oregon, or Covid! Yowza! But I’ve gotta say, being here during this time has been the biggest blessing of our lives! We spent every single day of summer at the river, or paddle boarding on a lake. We play with our neighbors. We go on mountain bike rides every single day. Mike’s working from home so we spend every day with him. Most of Micah’s life he would travel for work at least half of every single month. We are loving our slowing down, quality of life!! And for me, getting to be in LA for work has really allowed me the opportunity to focus on work when I’m in work mode, and then be 100% present at a mom when I’m home. I’m loving it!!
Q: What is your favorite piece of advice you have ever been given? What has been your favorite way to uplift yourself during quarantine?
A: An old man sitting next to me on a plane once said “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end, the quicker it rolls off.” I try my best to be a very present person, and revel in every single second. We never know when it’s going to be our last, and nothing is more important than a day. If we don’t slow down, we will miss all of it. It will all just roll away…
5 quick Q’s
Q: Favorite Fall Clothing Item? A: SLIPPERS! Do they count as clothing?
Q: Favorite Song? A: I have one for every season. For Fall its “Crane Wife” by The Decemberists.
Q: Favorite Indulgence? A: Donuts
Q: Must Have Item? A: Cream. Any and all types of cream – I hate dry skin!
Q: Favorite Place? A: Anywhere with my family. Seriously.