Part of it, a lot of it, is the guilt for feeling that way. For at least the first couple of weeks after Ella's birth, I wished that she wasn't mine. I wished that she didn't have Down syndrome. It kills me to say that, but it was how I felt and no matter how much I tried to change those feelings the same line repeated over and over in my mind and heart "I want my old life back." Sure I still took care of Ella as best I could. I still did the feedings and held her and rocked her and bathed her, kissed her and hugged her, but I was in a complete fog and really don't remember much of my time with her. Instead I remember crying, that's pretty much my only memory.
Hunter was 2 years and 4 months old when Ella was born. The thing I was most proud of in my life was that boy. I was a good mom, Hunter was my entire world. He was (still is of course) so smart, able to speak far beyond what a 2 year old should be able to, he was polite, sweet, social and incredibly loving. I had done a great job!! But now I had been completely thrown off my game. I didn't know how to raise a child with Down syndrome, I was not equipped to do such a thing, nor did I want to.
Gradually Ella became this baby that I just had to deal with, to one of the 2 greatest blessing of my life. I don't know how the transformation in my mind and heart happened but everyday a little more acceptance crept into me. I heard so many times after Ella's birth, "God only gives special babies to special moms," and immediately I would get angry, there are a lot of special babies out there and a lot of them have horrible parents, so that being said then why on earth do I have Ella?? Well my answer today is that she is my gift. Ella has opened up an entire world to me that before I was blind to. I no longer play the "why me" game, I wouldn't dream of it. I can't imagine my life without Ella and without Down syndrome, I wouldn't want that life. I see the world through a very different perspective now. Of course I still have days where I am sad and scared, but that mostly pertains to my fear for Ella's future, how she will be accepted etc.
I guess my whole reason for writing this is this, as everyone knows (or if you don't now you do..) 90% of families that find out prenatally that their baby has Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancy. Wow, right? I go between anger and sympathy for these families. I can totally understand the fear and sadness that they must feel, the crushing of a dream. I know that it is not that easy to find good news as far as having a baby with Ds is concerned. I know the feeling of wanting a "redo" wanting to alter the outcome somehow. I know that had I found out prenatally that their is NO WAY I could terminate BUT I also know that the thought would have crossed my mind a lot. I feel sorry for those families that did choose to terminate, they have no idea the gift that they just passed up. I also wonder, if this many babies are terminated, how many people with Down syndrome are there supposed to be in the world?? If these babies weren't terminated and the population of individuals with Ds was much larger then would my little girl face the same obstacles that face her now?
I have been doing a lot of thinking, the only thing I know for sure is that I am blessed. I have a beautiful 5 year old son and a beautiful 3 year old daughter that has Down syndrome and I am truly blessed! Here are some pics of my little blessings....