Reflecting on “Finding Out”

I wrote this a year ago and the words are still very true today:

Besides their birthdays, there are two dates that I will always remember with both of my children. They were the dates that it I literally felt my life change. With Josie, it was the day I found out I was pregnant. With Moses, it was May 24, the day I found out there was a 99% chance my baby would have Down Syndrome. We were packing up to go to the lake when I got the call from our midwife asking us to come in. I remember telling Tyson that she called, and he asked if there was something wrong. I remember telling him, “They usually don’t ask you to come in to tell you good news.”

When we got to the hospital and were told the results of the testing, the floodgates of emotions opened. While we had elected to have the genetic testing done, it was still shocking to hear those words. There was also a sense of relief that the news wasn’t worse. I burst into tears and tried to wrap my head around what I had just been told, but that only lasted for a few seconds because Josie came over to me clearly confused and scared about why mommy and daddy were crying. I picked her up, dried my tears, and said, “It’s going to be okay. This baby is going to be perfect and perfect for our family just like you.” That was the first of the pep talks I still give myself to try to convince myself that everything really will be okay.

The rest of that day was spent telling our parents, siblings, and best friends. Every conversation was difficult but they all resulted in the same message – we were not going to be alone in this. The immediate support we got was comforting and reassuring. Talking to my parents, my brother and sister, and my best friend also helped me to start working through the absolute jumble of thoughts and emotions I was going through. To be honest, Tyson and I didn’t talk a lot about it that first day. I think we were both too much of a mess to help each other.

Getting news that my baby will likely have a disability started me on an emotional roller coaster to say the least. There was the shock of finding that out. There was the guilt that maybe I did something to cause it. There was the sadness that my baby was likely going to have more difficulties in life from the get-go. There was the anger that my baby was likely going to have more difficulties in life from the get-go. There was the relief that my baby was going to survive and its disability was going to be mild compared to others. There was the confusion of how and why was this happening to us. Then there was, and still is, the anxiety of the uncertainty of it all.

When Tyson and I finally did talk about everything, it was hard at first because neither of us wanted to say anything to hurt the other person. In the end, we decided that we were going to love this baby and be the best parents to it just as we had been doing for Josie. We decided that we didn’t know what life was like with two kids and whatever that life ended up being like, that was going to be our new normal however it was. And that has held true for us to this day.

I’ve learned a lot in the last year and especially in the 7 months since Moses has been born. I’ve learned that God really doesn’t make mistakes and He truly does give you what and who you need in this life. I’ve learned that attitude and positivity is everything for me. Every day, I choose to focus on Moses’ strengths and successes instead of his weaknesses and struggles. I’ve learned that God has given me amazing people to help me through this, especially my husband. I’ve learned not to get too upset when people say insensitive things and how to address it when they do.

I decided to write this today not for sympathy or a pat on the back, but in the hopes that it will help even one person to know they’re not alone or to understand what it might be like for someone to go through something like this. It has helped me to finally “get it out there”. I purposely haven’t posted anything about Moses having Down Syndrome not because I wanted to hide it or because I was ashamed of it, but because I wanted people to fall in love with him for who he is. But not saying anything has left me feeling like I’m trying to hide a part of my son. Yes, Down Syndrome is a part of him, but it is not all of him. Simply put, every part of him is perfect and amazing.

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