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To the Mom-to-Be at the Store Giving Us a Look I Know So Well

We shared a moment today, soon-to-be mama.

You were coming down the grocery store aisle, glowing and beautiful, and probably a couple months away from being a mother, possibly for the first time. We locked eyes for a second, and I couldn’t help but glance at your belly and smile. At about that time, you looked at my little boy in the race-car shopping cart. The moment you glanced down, probably to smile at my son, my previously quiet boy started to yell and flap with wide eyes at the toy giraffe in his hands.

This caught you off guard, and you diverted your gaze quickly. You barely caught my eyes again with an uneasy smile as you walked past, but I could see it. I know it so well, you see. Fear — not of me or my son, but for yourself, for your future child.

I wish I could have reached across that awkward moment and said this:

Please, don’t be afraid. There is an epidemic, but not in the way people think, not of the big A. It’s an epidemic of fear and misunderstanding, and it’s spreading like wildfire. I suffered from the disease personally. The fear of doing something wrong that would affect my child, the fear of having a child that wasn’t “typical,” the fear of my life not turning out how I’d always planned it.

Dear future mom — being afraid of it, and even trying my best to prevent it, couldn’t keep it from happening. All it succeeded in doing was nearly driving me mad.

I wish I had said:

I’m the lucky one for having this special boy. He is the most interesting, beautifully minded, amazing person I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t trade this experience, being his mother, for anything. I’ve met wonderful, inspiring people, seen love work in ways I could’ve never imagined, and I’ve witnessed miracles every day. I was forced to grow in ways I thought I didn’t even need to. I realized I was so much stronger than I ever believed myself to be. None of this would’ve happened if one of my biggest fears — and truly it was — hadn’t come true.

I don’t know what the future holds for you, mama, but I can tell you this :

if your baby does turn out to be anything like my son, you will have the most painfully beautiful life. You will feel blessed and in awe of your child and yourself and the world. You will probably cry lots of tears of frustration, but you’ll cry even more tears of joy. You will be OK. I promise.

Most of all, you’ll be the second luckiest mother in the whole world.

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