When I Compare Myself to Other Parents as the Mom of a Child With Down Syndrome
My son Kaleb continues to do well. I marvel at his strength and attitude as I think about
this 2-pound, 2-ounce baby who was born at 28 weeks and then surprised us further two days later when he learned of his Down syndrome diagnosis. After 14 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) we have been home for two months. Therapy and specialist appointments continue to be a norm for us. It is safe to say Kaleb continues to teach me parenting and life from a new perspective.
I’ll be the first to admit how easy it is to “mompete” (compete and compare myself against other moms). Of course, social media and especially Pinterest make it easy to do. At times it can make you feel pretty good about yourself, and at other times very discouraged and like you just can’t measure up. I’m not sure why we do this; it’s not fair to us as parents or to our children.
The other night my 3-year-old, Kaden, and I were reading a book before bed. He was upset that Kaleb fell asleep before they could read their two bedtime books together, so he had to be content with reading with Momma instead. While we were reading the book “I Love You Through and Through,” I noticed he kept talking about the teddy bear. To be honest in the three years that we have read the book, I never gave the teddy bear a second thought. To me, the book is all about the little boy. Kaden thought it was about the teddy bear (he loves his stuffed animals). He showed me the book from another side, another perspective.
That has been Kaleb in my life. He has shown me a different perspective, another view of parenting and life. Even though right after learning of his diagnosis, I feared our life would change drastically, I realize it is the same life. I am now just able to see it with new eyes and a new perspective. He has shown me not to get so caught up with “the rules” or how others are doing.
Kaleb came out of the womb saying he does not follow anyone’s rule book and is writing his own. I can’t get wrapped up in the timeline of hitting milestones or trying to measure his progress against others. He has and continues to teach me to just step back and simply enjoy and be grateful for the miracle that is Kaleb. To enjoy baby snuggles, that yes, come with a few more wires due to his premature birth, and to celebrate each and every achievement with him. After receiving the diagnosis of Down syndrome, someone told me that each milestone is that much sweeter once they reach it. Already at his young age I’m realizing how true this is. It has allowed me to view parenting from a new perspective, that it is not about a parenting measuring stick. I work to continue to simply cherish him and experience life from a new perspective.
The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing you thought on the day of your or a loved one’s diagnosis that you later completely changed your mind about? 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 Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.
Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!