Three and a half years ago I had my tenth child. That’s already something beyond the ordinary, but there was something even more extraordinary about having my tenth child. He was going to be born with Down syndrome.
He explained to me that my baby had what was called Ventriculomegaly, enlarged ventricles in the brain. I remember the doctor telling me that there was probably nothing to worry about. He compassionately said that too many times we (moms to be) get told things like this, only for us to worry about it for he rest of our pregnancy, and it turns out to be nothing.
After series of tests (none of which were amniocentesis) we had a 99% confirmation that my little boy would be born with Down Syndrome.
The journey began.
After that, I was slammed with questions by medical staff about whether I’d want to keep my baby.
This is a baby, for goodness sake! It’s a baby whose heart had a strong, viable beat, a baby who actively moved inside of me, who I already loved. All I could think about, prior to being asked that horrible question, was about was how much I wanted my baby to be okay, you know, healthy.
I was angry.
I couldn’t wrap my mind around the question, as if it were something that I really needed to consider. I mean seriously?! There was no consideration as to whether or not I’d “keep” my little guy. He was mine, and I wouldn’t want him any less than I did the other nine children I’d birthed.
After moments of considering this horrible question, I went from angry to sad.
I was sad because there are people in this world who look at a human being as unfit to live just because they don’t fit into the mold of what they deem as typical.
My eyes had been opened, but my emotions were quite confused.
I wondered, if such a question could be asked, who else would think the same way? Would my little one be loved? I wondered if he’d be accepted by his grandparents and extended family, and part of me wanted to hide him from everyone to keep him safe from opinions. Yet, I realized that I was already going against the grain by having nine children. That in itself was something that wasn’t readily accepted by particular family members. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey.
I spent four months of my pregnancy crying, mostly because of the thought of my little one not being “good enough” for the world…even for some family.
Then he was born.
At that moment, I saw what I couldn’t have imagined. I realized, not only how precious his little life was, but how I’d been blessed, hand picked by the Creator, to love this child, teach him, and help to make him the best that he could be. He was born healthy.
Who cares what everyone else thinks?
I’d love my little guy, and his daddy and brothers and sisters would love him so much that it would never matter what anyone else thought or felt. God placed him in our lives, and we were the ones who were unworthy.
So, now I see the world differently. I look at my little one and I see what can be done instead of what can’t. In three years of his life, we’ve loved him so much as we’ve encouraged his development. We even invited our extended family to take part in our journey, only to have some close family members refuse, and that’s okay. Things aren’t always easy, but I don’t care about worthless opinions.
To know my son, is to fall in love with him, and I choose to spend my time building on that. So, if you’re feeling down and discouraged because of the opinions of others, I encourage you to rethink about the value of those opinions.
Some people mean well, but just have a bad way of conveying it. Fill your space with helpful people who will bring you sincere love that helps you through your difficult times (not tear you down). Ignore everything else. If I hadn’t, I can’t imagine where I’d be.
Bottom line is Down Syndrome changed my life…for the better.