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.