To the New Mom Who Got the Diagnosis She Feared for Her Baby

To my former self, the one with a fresh bundle of pink loveliness in her arms and a fresh diagnosis…

To the new mommy of a child with special needs, the mommy whose scariest prediction became her reality…

The one standing on a ledge, ready to jump to any and every bad conclusion. The one whose sadness rocked her so hard that her body shook, her appetite went missing and her thoughts consumed her with darkness. You were enveloped in your grief, and your vision was narrowed and negative. You did this for a solid week. Then you returned with vengeance.

Don’t feel guilty about your thoughts. Don’t feel bad about staring at that clear crib in the hospital and wondering how you could love your baby. It didn’t take you long. You researched, reached out and started writing. Now you love your baby so much. You see his beauty as one that soars above all other beautiful things combined.

You needed to be sad. Everyone fought for you because of it. They deflated your biggest fears. And you became stronger and smarter. As tears fell right on your baby’s cheek, you pushed through to acceptance, and you let go of judgment and prejudice. You’re a better human being because of it.

You were right when you predicted your baby would have Down syndrome. But whatever it was you feared about the future isn’t here. I’m still not sure what you feared. You didn’t know about possible heart defects or thyroid problems or neurological scares. You knew nothing of hearing loss, vision issues or a higher risk for cancer. I think you were afraid no one would love you or your baby. You couldn’t have been more wrong.

There’s nothing to fear, my dear. Your baby is so loved, it’s impossible for me to explain the enormity of it. But after a short bout of self-pitying and despair, you’ll see. And a short while after that, you’ll barely recognize the shallow, pregnant woman hoping people wouldn’t think her baby was going to be unlovable.

Your Judah is just about a year old now, and your life contains more nourishment than all your days before him combined. Now you have a clearer vision of what’s really important. Now you and your husband have the most incredible bond. You share tears when a mom comes up to you at Target and says your son is like her son and an incredible gift. You trade stories and beam with pride from a successful therapy session. You two know how to take care of yourselves and your relationship so you can be the best for your babies.

You’ve “met” some pretty spectacular people through social media, too. People trying to send people with Down syndrome to college and setting up a foundation to get little ones with Down syndrome adopted. You’re part of a community where good feelings wrap around you like a blanket.

You’re here. You made it. You want to advocate, love harder, abandon your old inept ways and be worthier. You’re a more valuable person because of your journey.

Thank goodness it was always innate for you to persevere. Thank goodness it was never in your DNA to lose hope. Instead, I believe you let God give you a piggyback ride, and you loved. Judah is your reward for that. Your life is your reward for that. And you are living the most magnificent existence right now.

Follow this journey on Finding the Joy.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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