From a Mother: Part Two
I reached out to several amazing mommas at the beginning of the month and asked them a series of questions. I wanted to have a series on what mommas say about their kiddos with Ds.
The first question I asked was a pretty loaded one- How has having a child with Down syndrome changed you? As their answers came in, my eyes were overflowing with tears as I read each one. These strong, amazing women have been changed so much by one tiny little chromosome. Take a few minutes and read their answers. I have added my answer at the bottom. Thank you for following along with me as we celebrate Down syndrome awareness month!
How has having a child with Down syndrome changed you?
Kim (@kimberlydknight) Wow that is a fully loaded question. I am a former Assistant Principal on the Elementary level. If you knew me then, you know I loved what I did. It wasn't a job it was my career. I had Max who is 4.5 now and was able to continue to work until he was 18 months old when his little brother was born. It became apparent that something in our family dynamics had to change. That change was one I knew had to happen and I embraced it at the time. I knew it was what not only Max needed, but his little brother, as well as my husband and our marriage.
I will be fully honest and say it was HARD! I had no idea how hard it would be, I could help run a school with over 1000 kids and 100 plus staff; but these two tiny humans????? I was in a very bad place for months but didn't really understand why until a friend used the word "mourning". I had to mourn my old life and reset for this new life. I was always a career person and not a mom person. I still do not see myself as a mom person but this is my new "career." This is the one gave me my old career to prepare for this one, if that makes sense.
There is something that happens every day that I am so grateful that my husband works so hard that I can stay home. The stress level is way down in our house(on most days). If my husband has to work late, a child is sick, not to mention the hours I drive to and from therapies are all so doable because I am home. Being a mom is the most selfless job around and I am not a selfless person … I think God is changing that in me and I am learning every day to allow him to do this.
Lacey (@laceyhochman): I believe it’s changed me dramatically. Being someone who grew up, never interacting with anyone with a developmental disability, I was truly missing out. I could be quick to judge or label things that were different or scary to me. My outlook on life and on the people I share this life with is so much more understanding and compassionate. I also see value differently now. We had some preconceived ideas of what Ari would be or do in life and set that up as his milestone of value. We had to change our expectations for his life. Not to say he won’t do a lot of those things, but he won’t do everything he may aspire to do. And that’s okay. He is no less valuable as a human and no less valuable to society. What he may end up lacking in monetary or other value, he may make up in the happiness he spreads and the lessons he shares with his fellow humans. He certainly has brought so much joy into my own life. I’m not sure what I would be like without him, and I don’t want to think about it!
Katie (@mrsmac1933): I have been changed in so many ways... where to begin? In so many positive ways including more patience, a tribe I didn’t know I couldn’t live without, opportunities to educate others and so much love. It’s also shaped me in other ways including making me a big time worrier and planner.
Sharon (@threeislove): Phew. This is a big question. There are many ways. But the biggest is that somehow, in the trenches of this journey, I have discovered what I was made to do. I have found my passion and my fire in this world. And it is shouting the worth of those with Down syndrome. It started small - but now it’s growing like a wildfire. Because of Aiden, I’m thriving. I didn’t expect that this diagnosis that once crushed me would also be the thing that brought me into finding my purpose.
So, I think I may be in the minority when I say I’m not a believer of “God gave me a child with Down syndrome for a reason” which I know many people feel strongly that is what happened to them. It just doesn’t resonate with me. But I do feel that God has met me in my darkest moments and has said “You’re not alone” and has given me so much love and support throughout this journey. Through people, through places, through circumstances. I love what I do when I spend time working towards the betterment of people with Down syndrome and with their families.
I finally feel like I belong. Is that cheesy? Maybe. But it’s the truth.
Me (@enoel83): Since the moment I held Dex for the first time, I was a changed woman. Not only because I became a mother for the first time, but because I became an advocating mother for the first time. The first few years after Dex was born, I felt like I was stumbling through. I didn’t read books, or research online, I just let him guide me on what we were to do next. I am so thankful for our team of doctors and therapists who helped us find our way those first few years. When Dex was two, I found a tribe on instagram of all places. These mommas and I would message each other, encourage each other and ask each other questions about our little people. Fast forward a few years and it was time for school. Now, I was a school teacher for 5 years before Dex was born. I loved teaching and fully believed in meeting students where they are and helping them succeed. I was crushed when I realized that not every one felt that way. As we began to advocate for our boy to be with his peers and seen as capable, I could feel myself changing even more. Then Gus came along- it was my first experience with having a baby with major medical needs. This time I did research all the things and flat out told some doctors no at different times. All this to say, I have changed in that I am not afraid to speak up on behalf of those who are not able to speak up for themselves. I have learned to see the good in others through my boys. I have learned to lift others up, rather than judge. I have also been changed because those boys that call me momma are absolutely perfect and I couldn’t love them more.
Stay tuned from more awesome nuggets of wisdom from these mommas over the next few weeks!