Try as I might, when Avery was a newborn I couldn’t imagine my life with him. All I could see was sadness and heartache. Sometimes, just looking at him would make me cry.
Almost four years have passed. I wish I could reach back to that new mother. I’d tell her the things that took me a long time to learn, so she’d have them in her heart right from the beginning.
I’d tell her that its okay to be scared, and to feel sad and lonely. You’d be surprised how many other mothers feel the same. The mothers who struggle the most early-on become the strongest. Their resolve is like steel forged in fire.
If you don’t feel like you think you should feel, fake it. Sometimes going through the motions is good enough. Soon, the motions become habit. After a while, the habit becomes real. It’s a place to begin.
Doctors do not always know what is best for your child, or your family. You know more than you think you know.
Your baby will grow into a whole, unique, complete person. Different doesn’t mean broken.
Having a baby, or child, or person with Down syndrome in your life means it will be full of surprises. If you are a person who doesn’t like surprises, you will learn to appreciate them.
The love you feel for your baby will be one of those surprises. Your understanding of it will appear when you least expect it, like sunlight breaking through the clouds.
The love you get back will surprise you even more. It is the gift so many of us talk about, the silver lining. It is pure, like the love of any child, and unchanging. You may not be able to imagine it just yet, but it is there.
It will wait for you until you are ready to accept it. And as with all good gifts, the only thing you have to do is say yes.