It's been a little over four years since THAT day, you know which day I'm talking about. Four years since you delivered your son who, shockingly, unexpectedly, was also born with a little something extra.
Do you remember four years ago how you cried for days, weeks, even months? Do you remember how the hospital staff walked on eggshells around you because your somberness was so easy to see, as were your constant puffy eyes?
Do you remember how you felt compelled to hold him throughout that first night, feeling the overwhelming urge to bond with him? Do you remember crying into his soft, sweet head that night telling him that you were sorry, sorry for the tears, sorry for the sadness? Do you remember how you wouldn't take him out in public for weeks, maybe even longer because you didn't want the stares, didn't want to feel embarrassed?
Yes, girlfriend, you are really going to feel guilty about that one. On your son's first birthday, just to let you know, you are going to throw your handsome boy a BIG birthday party, actually celebrating his birth, something you couldn't/didn't do on his actual BIRTH day.
You are really going to kick yourself for that last part. Chin up chickie, there will soon be sunshine and rainbows. You will find a few other moms on a similar journey who get "it", comparing stories, sharing resources.
You will also learn what the term "mama bear" means. You will fight for what your son rightfully deserves. You will be battle ready for inclusion, something you will feel passionate, very strongly about. You will start correcting people who say the r-word. You will discover empathy and compassion for others that you didn't know you possessed, didn't know you were lacking for individuals with special needs.
My dear, you will come a LONG way in four years and you're just getting started!
Bio: Valery Hendrickson is a mom to Greyson James. You can follow their Facebook page at Greyson's Groupies.
This letter is part of DSDN's October Down Syndrome Awareness Month campaign. We asked our members to write a letter to themselves during the time they received the diagnosis. Do you know a parent with a child under the age of 4 who needs connections and support? Let DSDN help and get started here.