I decided to share my response to a pregnant mum’s blog – it was a trip down memory lane…. One day I would like to be able to communicate in other languages to parents of disabled children.
“Oh! The memories you brought back about my 3rd pregnancy! I threw up the entire 9 months, day and night. I had to throw myself out of bed at night onto the floor whilst I was vomiting, just so that I wouldn’t pee the bed. I threw up so much I thought I was permanently incontinent. The pregnancy turned into a survival test – reducing me to a human incubator. I threw up in labour, too, and even in the recovery ward. Then suddenly, it was over. Yay.
Did my hubby give emotional support? Nah.
My 5th child has Down Syndrome. I went into labour 4 weeks early – often babies with Down Syndrome come early – but don’t panic:) When Stephen was born, I didn’t know he had Down Syndrome. I looked at him, but all I saw was my child. Later, I noticed his ‘slanty’ eyes, and I braced myself. After a wait of at least a few days for blood test confirmation, it seemed that a larger than normal sized group of medical staff came to inform me of the news. Did they think I was going to throw or hurt my baby or something?!
Upon hearing the news, my first words were: “Then I will love him even more!”, and lovingly continued to cradle him. Yes, there were tears, but he was my son! Such a beautiful, tiny baby. He was in the NCU ward at first, being premature, but each time I held him I would whisper to him, “You are safe and secure, and so loved.” I told him I loved him hundreds of times a day. I love all my children – they are all special. But there’s something extra special about Stephen. It’s hard to put into words.
Don’t let any medical staff discourage you too much. I’ve often had to remind them that “we are not victims” and “Stephen is not a victim”! He is a happy child, and if I, his dad, and his siblings have anything to do with it, he will have a most wonderful life. Yes, there are strangers out there, who say stupid things when you’re holding your newborn like, “People can be so cruel”, and “there’s community housing these days, dear”. What ridiculous tripe to say when one’s child is so young! It always helps to maintain your sense of humour; think of the funny side of life. Like when a stranger was going overboard with sympathy to me: “oh you poor thing”, and I replied “Look lady, he’s happier than you are!” Haha! (Usually I’m not that rude!) But you know, later I would have a belly laugh each time I recalled that experience.
If I said it’s all roses, then I’d be lying. The honest truth? – I love him so much, and I can’t imagine my life without him. If I could wave a magic wand to take the Down Syndrome away, he would be my son, but he would be *another* one of my children with a different name. He wouldn’t be Stephen, and I would miss him. It’s hard to explain.
I jokingly tell people he has “Up” Syndrome! They reply, “What do you mean?”, and I say, well, look at him! See how happy he is! He makes my heart sing everyday, too.
All the best to you, your family, and the precious baby in your womb. I want to say bonding makes a huge difference. I was lucky some hours later to have the NCU nurse place his naked little warm body down my nightgown onto my bare skin – and 7 and a half years later, I still treasure that memory. Of course, there are wonderful recent memories, too. I want to reassure you that your baby will bring so much blessing and enrichment to your lives. And though you love all your children, this child will hold an extra special place in your heart. You’ll see:) ”