Be the Change…

13 Feb

I’m going to admit it right up front:

This post is basically a self-admonishment.  I have examined my own life and found myself lacking.  In self-reflection, I have come to realize that my narcissistic self has reared its ugly head once too many times recently, and a mid-course-correction is sorely needed.

I want to “be the change”.  I need to turn over a new leaf, and be the change that I desire to see.
But let’s back up a bit to where this admonition originates…

Recently, I was in conversation with a friend who also has a child with Down syndrome.  She mentioned to me that when she received the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for her beautiful baby boy, she was immediately contacted by a host of people.  The Child Development Center Team at our local Children’s Hospital instantly connected with her family, informing her of resources, support, and service options available to them.  This team also arranged for another family who had a child with Down syndrome to meet my friend and her husband, and an instant connection was formed.  They had the opportunity to process, share, question, and come to grips with their soon-to-be reality, within the context of a community of people who truly understood what they were experiencing and could walk alongside them in the journey.

I must admit, while being very impressed with the efficiency of the community to rally around someone who was soon-to-be one of its own, I was simultaneously inwardly distraught that I had not been offered the same level of care and service.  I coveted her experience, and felt jealous that she had such a positive experience when I had felt so alone and isolated when Jake was first born.  I mentally stopped and had a pity party, expounding (in my head of course) on how I always seem to get the short end of the stick.  I played the blame-game, with myself as the victim of a cruel, cruel world.

This led me to reflect on how this has actually been a pattern in my life in the DS community.

I felt as though someone “should” have contacted me right away after Jake was born.
At a DS conference last year, when Jake was just a baby, I felt as though people “should” have made the effort to connect with me, the newbie.
When I started in therapy programs with Jake, I felt as though everyone else “should” reach out to me, and make me feel welcome.
And the list goes on…but the point is, I always felt like it was the other person’s responsibility to care for me.  To include me.  To make me feel comfortable.  To reach out.

The epiphany moment for me was when I realized that if I am waiting for other people to reach out to me, then perhaps other people are also waiting for me to reach out to them.  For me to be to them what I wish that they were to me.  Which is what brought me to the conclusion that I have to “be the change”.

I want to be the person to reach out to people who are new to the DS community.
I want to be the person who makes the first move, who welcomes people in, who creates an atmosphere of acceptance and community.
I want to create an environment of support that will cause people to look back on their initial experiences in the DS community with rose-colored glasses, instead of with a sense of sadness.
I am tired of always expecting other people to step up and cater to me, and being disappointed if they don’t.

So, please feel free to remind me of this post if you see me not living up to this.  Seriously.

Oh, and also, here are some pics of my cuties.  Happy Wednesday.  And happy almost Valentines Day!






Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


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7 responses to “Be the Change…

  1. Anna

    February 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Wow! I’m sorry, but I am having a pity party for me right now, after reading about how your friend was contacted and welcomed and actually got to meet another family with a child with ds. Yup, pity party going on as we speak! I am so jealous! I would have given ANYTHING to have that! I TOTALLY can relate on feeling like because you are the “newbie” that people should be contacting you, and reaching out to you. But like you said, sometimes you need to be the one to reach out first!

    • karynslater

      February 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Anna, I for one can hardly wait to meet:)
      Just saying…!

  2. Anne Keinick

    February 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I hear what you are saying and I agree there are times when we engage in self-pity. However, I wish to remind you of how welcoming you were to me when I first came into the DS therapy groups. I also hope you realize that you were filled with an array of emotions after Jake’s birth. I am not sure I would ever call you narcissistic. It is totally normal to want to be welcomed and feel a sense of disappointment when no one does. That being said – the idea of “being the change” is a fabulous one. So many times we wish to see change and yet, we are not doing anything to ensure this change exists. Wake up calls are essential in growing and changing and becoming who we need to be. Compassion for self is also essential in growing. Long story short – you are a great person and a wonderful mother and a person that I am so happy is apart of my journey with Jackson. Love to you and your family.

  3. Kathy

    February 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Hi sweetie. Always remember your mom and I are here to support you guys, no matter what!! You are awesome!! Dad

  4. Lisa

    May 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I have just stumbled upon your blog and it is great. I absolutely love how real you are. I have laughed out loud and cried reading your posts. From seeing your photos etc, I remember you at that first conference. My husband and little guy were there also (he is just younger than Jake). As much as everyone was very nice, I do remember having those feelings as well. I know that I saw you there with Jake, just a wee baby and thinking, “we should hook up, our kids are almost the same age” I also was waiting and am totally kicking myself for not introducing myself. I am also kicking myself that I just found your blog now as we just moved to Edmonton area and are no longer connected with ACH, we used to come to Calgary regularly. Boo, would have loved to meet up and get to know each other:(
    Thank you again for your blog and your honesty. I look forward to continue reading.

    • karynslater

      May 5, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Thanks so much for your comment! I am so disappointed that we never got a chance to meet and hang out:(
      I do love the fact that we can still be in touch though:) Hope you and your family are doing well, and if you ever are down in these Calgary parts, be sure to let me know:) I would love to meet you and your family!

  5. Becca

    August 2, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Just found your blog through my analytics report this morning. 🙂 Your boys are beautiful!! I was one of the lucky ones to have received a folder of information from a social worker when I was in the hospital with my daughter. In that folder was the number for the Parent to Parent contact at our local Down syndrome association, and I reached out to her within a week. Within a year, I was one of her P2P volunteers, being assigned to new parents to help answer questions or just lend an ear. I have been doing it ever since, and love it. 🙂


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