In the Down syndrome blogging community, something called a “blog hop” is happening this summer, hosted by Meriah, the author of the blog A Little Moxie. The point of said blog hop? To get bloggers, such as myself, to write posts specific to issues surrounding disability. To get us thinking, to get us reflecting, to get us capturing thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding disability in a tangible form.
The third prompt is to write a letter to my younger self. I contemplated starting from scratch, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to use the letter that I have already written. So, this is a little bit of a cheater week, since it’s not actually new material. For those of you who have read it before, I’m really sorry that it is redundant, but for the sake of the blog hop, here it is again! Oh, and also, I’m posting some new pics of my kiddos, so at least if you’ve read the letter, you can skip down to the cute pictures!
A Letter To My Younger Self
It’s me…you! Well, the version of you that is slightly older and more weathered, but possessing a deeper resiliency and a blessed contentment.
I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Chances are, you won’t listen. You are stubborn that way. Chances are, you will discount this letter, and find your own way through the journey that lies ahead for you. That is okay. I don’t take offense. I (we) have come a long way in developing thick skin. Looking back though, I wish I had known then what I know now. So, it is for that reason I am writing to you.
Congratulations! You just got back from your honeymoon a couple of weeks ago, and tonight you found out you are pregnant with your first baby! I know you have waited a long time for this part of your life to begin, and I am so happy for you.
In the next couple of months, you will start questioning your pregnancy. You will think thoughts that others will tell you are crazy, paranoid, and unfounded. You will question whether or not your baby has Down syndrome. You will be convinced in your heart that there is something wrong. Everyone else will tell you that you are overreacting. You. Are. Not. Crazy. You have an intuition that I believe was put there to help ready you for the journey of motherhood you are about to embark on. Trust your gut.
This new little miracle that you are currently growing does, in fact, have a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Prepare your heart for this. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of what was imagined, but allow yourself also the opportunity to celebrate as your firstborn son enters into the world (spoiler alert: you are having a beautiful baby boy!). Most importantly, know this: the sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
If I could only show you what a difference two and a half years can make, you would go into this delivery with such confidence, with such peace, and with such joy. You would know that, while life may look different than you originally intended, it is also in many respects the same. You have the same powerful love, the same fierce pride, and the same “mama bear” protectiveness as you will have for all your children. You would grasp that, while having a child with a disability is challenging, often sorrowful, and at times unfair, it is also beautiful, redemptive, and worth every second.
Oh, and one more thing: cut yourself some slack. You will be the best mother that you know how to be. You will often be too hard on yourself, or demand more of yourself than is humanly possible. This is one area that I, your future self, am still working on. But I’ll give you the same admonishment that I give myself: cut yourself some slack. You are doing your best.
I hope this helps in some small measure, as you journey through the coming months and years. I don’t pretend to have arrived, but I felt this was information you needed to know.
Oh, and he is beautiful. And perfect. And he makes my heart swell with pride every day. Enjoy him:)