Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm only human

As a mother you try your very best to be perfect. You want to make sure you are doing everything you possibly can to ensure the brightest future for your children. You strive to make sure they eat well, sleep enough, don't watch too much tv, brush their teeth, learn their manners, and on and on and on. It's a full time job and one I am honored to have.

As a mother you look at your kids and see the perfection in them that others may not see. When they are throwing a tantrum you remember how sweet they look when sleeping and you manage to maintain your calm.

As an expectant mother you dream of your new child. You make plans and have hopes for her. You imagine holding her for the first time and seeing her little angel face. You try to get ready for the road ahead, making sure her room is perfect, her clothes are clean and ironed, you have the perfect pediatrician in place to care for her, you take your vitamins. Your whole world revolves around a person you have never met but you feel every second of the day.

When I was carrying Casey and Connor I did all of these things. I planned their futures. I painted their room. I washed their clothes. I dreamed of their arrival. I was over the moon excited to meet my sons. As you all know, when they were born and I heard the words "Down syndrome" all my planning and dreaming went out the window. I was left to grieve the children I had been expecting for 36 weeks and 2 days. I was shattered and heart broken. I was unable to dream or imagine a new and different future for them. That's when my husband saved me. He pulled me into his arms and told me our sons were perfect.

Knowing he looked at them and saw "perfect" allowed me to look at them and see "perfect" and it also allowed me to dream again- just differently. No words could ever express the love and gratitude I feel for Matthew because of that moment. My husband was my angel that day. He will forever hold my heart for the words he said that made me look at those tiny little boys and see miracle men.

With all that being said, I have a confession to make.

As we are getting closer and closer to the arrival of our daughter I am getting more and more nervous about who she is. I try so hard to believe that God will give me the baby I am meant to have and to blindly accept that He knows best. I try so hard to believe the geneticist who told us that the odds of having another child with Down syndrome are slim. I try so hard to believe that no matter what I will look at my little girl and see perfection.

The truth is- I am terrified. I declined all prenatal testing with her- just as I did with her brothers- because I KNOW it doesn't matter. In my heart, I KNOW that no matter what I will love her.

But I'm only human. A weak and scared one at that.

My biggest fear is that Reagan will arrive and I'll see immediately that she more closely resembles Casey and Connor than Matthew or me and that I will be sad, or mad, or just... heartbroken.

Don't misread that. If by chance our daughter DOES have DS I will love her and advocate for her and adore her as much as I do my boys. I will accept that God had chosen the path for me and I will walk it with my head held high and my heart filled with love for my children.

Let me see if I can explain this better. I will love her regardless of her chromosome count. My biggest fear is my reaction. Despite EVERYTHING I have done with and for my sons, despite all the love and affection, I feel so much guilt for EVER being upset about their diagnosis. I feel so much guilt for ever thinking they may not read or enjoy life the same way a child without DS does. I hate myself for ever looking at them and crying.

I feel like a terrible mother for ever thinking "I hope the doctors are wrong."

So, it's not Down syndrome I fear but my own weakness- my own limitations as a person to accept anything immediately.

On the flip side- I worry how I will feel if she DOES NOT have DS. Will I treat her differently than her brothers? Will people just assume I am thankful to have one "normal" child? Will that piss me off that people look at her and think she is the perfect one? Will my dreams for her be bigger than the dreams I have for Casey and Connor? Will one of my 3 babies feel less loved than their siblings?

Gah! I have so many worries. I am actually surprised at my willingness to share these thoughts with all those who choose to read my ramblings. It's not easy to admit you are so flawed. It's an uncomfortable thing to say I am scared of how I will feel about my child.

I guess that's the point of this whole blog though- to write what I feel and think- even the ugly crap- so other people know that it's ok to wonder or worry so long as in the end you try your hardest to be the best parent possible.

I am a far different person than I was when C&C were born. I like to think I am far better. Clearly not FAR better but better nonetheless. As much as I would like to think I am a super mom I know better.

I am scared.

I am weak.

I'm only human.


Laura Seliga said...

You are stronger than most people I know just by having the courage to write this blog and admit your human and I commend you for that. I don't know you personally but can tell that your children , no matter what the outcome is are blessed to have you has a mother just as you are blessed to have them. You and your family will be in my prayer and I wish the best for you.

Anonymous said...

The great thing is that you have a cyber family of moms and dads raising a child or children with Down Syndrome who have children of all abilities.. Your feelings are valid. I will pray for your anxiety until the big day come. Looking forward to seeing Casey and Conners new baby sister :)

Anonymous said...

A wonderful, truthful peice of writing. I had my two children the other way round, my lovely non disabled child first and my lovely child with DS the second. I am not sure which way round is better. I did not have all those worries during pregnancy but was hit with a wall of guilt as soon as M was born because I felt I had ruined J life. Eight yrs on I still feel guilty but about those feelings. Both M and J have made my life complete in ways I would never have imagined. Thank you for sharing xx

Lisa said...

I could have written this exact post when I was pregnant with my second. Your feelings are valid and there should be no guilt for them. The only thing that really matters is you love your baby and will hold her,kiss her, and try to make the world a better place for her - and it is obvious you will.

Day to Day Mama said...

I don't think any mom on this journey wouldn't understand your fears. When my twins were born I was afraid I would love my non DS son more. It seems crazy now because I love them both so much. You are such a loving mommy. I'm sure you will handle anything that comes your way with love and grace

Anna said...

I have 4 children on the autism spectrum. I understand what you are saying about guilt. I try to explain to people that I do ADORE them all but I would take the ASD away in a heartbeat because a neuro typical child walks a much easier road in life and I want this for them. As a loving mother, it is hard to watch your children struggle. It is ok to not want to have to watch yet another child struggle too. It doesn't mean you are a bad mother, it means you love your children and want them to be happy. That makes you a great mum.