"Everything in our lives prepared us for
this..." My husband said that to me two days
after our beautiful daughter, Emily was born.
Emily is a happy, fun-loving, slightly mischievous girl
with an infectious giggle. She also happens to
have Down syndrome. She is a shining star in our
lives, and really in the lives of anyone who meets her.
But on that day, two days after she was born, I remember
feeling like I had run head-first into a brick wall.
I was a surprised that the doctors had said, "She
has indicators of Down syndrome," as they pulled
her out. Not, "It's a beautiful baby girl!"
or "Welcome, baby Emily!" It was as
if she was being defined by her appearance and condition
even before I had a chance to see her. I was appalled
at their insensitivity. I turned to my husband
and asked, "What does this mean?" That
was a silly thing to ask. I knew what Down syndrome
was. I had taught many children with Down syndrome
in my fifteen years of teaching music. My husband
and I had even discussed "what if she has Down
syndrome?" when we refused an amniocentesis that
was strongly recommended because of my "advanced
maternal age" of 38. We refused it because
we knew we would never terminate a pregnancy, and we
knew there was a risk for the baby involved with an
amniocentesis. We decided that if God believed
in us enough to trust us with a child with a disability,
then we knew we would be able to handle it.
What I was really asking was,
"Is it going to be all right?" The answer
is, a resounding, YES! It is all right.
After those first few days of fear of navigating this
new life God chose for me, I began to realize what that
meant. God had chosen this life for me!!!
What an honor that is. God, who knows me better
than I know myself, entrusted this precious gift to
me to be her mother. I cannot explain the awesome
peace that gave me. Even if I can't see it in
myself, God knows that everything I need to thrive in
this journey is already there, within me. I had
heard many times before, "God doesn't make mistakes."
This is true of His trust in me to be Emily's mother,
and in His creation of Emily. She is a perfect
reflection of God's love for us.
I often think of that wise
statement my husband made, "Everything in our lives
prepared us for this." I think of how God
works throughout our lives, nudging us here, whispering
in our ear there, to create the perfect situation that
will best support his most precious children.
My husband grew up in a house with daycare children
running all around. He was comfortable with children
of varying abilities. I taught thousands of children
in all types of socio-economic settings, and with many
different abilities. We had both worked hard over
the years to become people who are accepting of differences,
and to grow spiritually. When my husband said
that, it was as if God's hand suddenly became visible
to us where He had placed us to get us ready for this
moment. It was a very powerful and moving revelation.
Please know that there is nothing
"special" about us that isn't also true of
you. God doesn't make mistakes, and if you are
here seeking support, God chose you for a reason, too.
I pray that you will find those special qualities that
are within you. Our children are so worth it!!!
to Down's Syndrome Stories
-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.