My Son With Down Syndrome Taught Me Where There Is Fear, There Is Faith
When I have fear, in comes faith.
After I first found out that Wyatt had Down syndrome, I held my pregnant belly and fear set in. I sat for a while trying to figure out what the fear was, because I loved him fiercely and his diagnosis only made that love stronger. So I sat in the fear. I paced in the fear. I even cried in the fear. We named him Wyatt, for warrior. Steel for strength. And it came to me.
It was a huge, overwhelming fear for his future. I didn’t fear for baby Wyatt — babies are cute and cuddly and who doesn’t love them? My fear was for school, college, after — fear for the Wyatt who grew and got older and how the world would change around him. The fear was all-encompassing. Then I looked at his ultrasound picture, the one that confirmed his diagnosis.
In came faith. His little hand was waving, like, “Hi mama! I’m OK in here! And I will be out there, too! I promise!” I breathed. I researched. I’d never been a joiner but I joined groups, every single one I could find. I bought books. I consulted specialists. They gave me faith.
That fear for his future still lives in me. Will people be kind? Will he have strong and true relationships? Love? When some of my own friends disappeared during and after my pregnancy, the fear stopped me in my tracks. What did it mean for him, in his life, if they couldn’t stick around in mine?
In came faith, in the face of my husband. In the eyes of my family. In the kindness of strangers. In the smiles of other, dear friends, who looked at Wyatt and all of us and said, “I’m right here and I’m never going anywhere.” Faith is in the grins of their children when they play with him, it’s in his cousins’ love. Where those holes happened now stands a tribe of moms and families like ours, shoulder to shoulder. “We’ve got him, we’re here for him,” they say.
And then came a chorus, from all these people, from all these parts of Wyatt’s life, “He is so loved. We are his friends. We always will be. He will never be alone,” they all say. And that is faith.
Fear still keeps me up at night — will he find work that fulfills him and will he have purpose and pride? And what will happen to him if something happens to us? Faith happens with planning for his future in every way I can. It comes with advocacy, with inclusion, with creating the world that I want him to live in.
Faith lives in Wyatt and I see it each time he looks at me. There is faith in every inch of every milestone; in telling him he can do and be anything, and in him believing it.
Where there is fear, there is always faith.