Other than the rain, this weekend brought some beautiful weather and it was great for garage sales. I came across a lot of really good finds, like these adorable pj’s that I couldn’t pass up. How could I?! They will really suit our baby lemonade 🍋
I was having a terrific morning with all of the cheap name-brand baby clothes & bargains I was coming across, so I don’t know why I ruined it for myself. The last sale I stopped by was bursting with little girl clothes and baby gear. A play mat caught my eye. It was bright, colorful, and interactive. It had things like a crinkly lady bug, a squeaky frog and a glistening sun. My very first thought was about how stimulating it would be for Baby Girl. I have been obsessed with finding stimuli for all five senses. I just want to take the right steps from the very beginning. If a crinkly ladybug is what motivates her to roll over and reach, then I’m going to make sure she has it. I’m not so worried about when she’s hitting these milestones because you can’t put expectations like that on a child with Down syndrome. Some children with DS are right on target, while others may take a little longer. No matter what, I plan to provide her with the support and tools that she needs to succeed, starting from day one.
I began to talk with the owner of the house. As she packed up my things, she mentioned how good the play mat (a $2.00 steal, by the way) was for her kids . I don’t know why I felt so compelled to tell her about our situation, but I suddenly couldn’t keep it inside, “I thought it’d be great as we raise our baby with special needs.” As soon as I said it, I wished I hadn’t. I silently scolded myself. Why did I say that?! Now I’m going to tear up and embarrass myself…It’s so irrelevant! The woman was very kind and asked for specifics on her needs because, as it turned out, she was a physical therapist for children with visual impairments. “She has Down syndrome,” I said with a hand on my belly and a forced smile on my face. The woman was warm and encouraging, offering some advice on the local therapy centers. I walked away from that conversation with an armful of bargains, some great recommendations, and some very confusing tears in my eyes.
Once I got to my car, the floodgates opened. I couldn’t figure out why I was so upset. Was it because I hadn’t said the words “Down syndrome” out loud in a while? When was I going to move forward with this? My hope is that everything will get better in time. I can’t wait to feel all these negative thoughts wash away when they place her in my arms. I keep wanting to rush through this “grieving” process and get to the end where I know everything is going to be okay (I believe I’ve mentioned my impatience before). I haven’t been going through this process like I thought I would. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance… It all starts over for me on a weekly basis. Every week seems to get a little better, but I still have a long way to go.
Grief is described as “a response to a loss of something”. I still have my girl, but what I’m grieving is the loss of the baby that I was expecting, the baby that didn’t have a genetic disorder. I hear that this is normal, which is a relief. When I think of her, I am giddy. I am so proud of her already and I am so in love with my beautiful little girl. However, when I think of Down syndrome, I get sucked into this black hole of doubt and fear. No matter what I have read about a promising future or what I have heard about other beautiful babies, I can’t seem to remember any of it when I am suffocating in this hole. Most of the time, I am searching for answers that don’t matter at this time (like what I could have done to prevent Down syndrome) or worrying about the things I can’t change (like the fact that she has it). Jacob is the one who pulls me out. “We make a good team,” he says, and he’s so right. Where would I be without my other half?
My mom says I need to “feel everything that comes with this”. That means the good and the not-so good. Why I was crying, I don’t know, but it felt good to feel it. My new goal is to give my heart the time it needs to heal and also to continue to feel everything as I journey through motherhood.