It’s quiet time in my house.
Quiet time. You know, that time when all your kiddos are (supposedly) napping or being restful and quiet?
Quiet time. You know, that time when you get to unwind, rest, and relax? (who am I kidding, more like that time when you frantically run around the house trying to get stuff done, because you know in two hours the kids are going to be done with quiet time and ready to mess up everything you have just worked so hard to clean!)
Anyway, today during quiet time I am choosing to blog! And as I lie on my bed, computer on my lap, and look down at my almost-18-week belly, flashes come back to me. Memories of the first 18-week belly that I was privileged to have. Snippets of conversations, of thoughts and emotions, of certainty that foreshadowed reality. As I look back on it now, the best way to describe it is to say that I had a feeling…
It was a chilly winter weekend, and Curtis and I were on our way to visit some friends who lived just out of the city. I was 18 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and the friends we were going to visit were also pregnant with their first, so it seemed that whenever we got together, there was lots to talk about!
As we were on our way to their house, our conversation flitted from one thing to another, generally lighthearted, simple conversation that was our way of catching up on the details of life. In the back of my head, however, thoughts were nagging. Voices were beginning to battle inside of me, one side telling me I should speak up about my fears, and the other side telling me I was being ridiculous. After a few minutes of silence, Curtis could sense that I had something that I wanted to talk about, and so he prompted me to share. Hesitant at first, I began to voice my concerns, timid at first, but then slowly picking up velocity like a snowball that starts out small, but grows and grows as it is propelled into existence.
“What if…our baby…has…Down syndrome” I haltingly sputtered.
Of course Curtis’ initial reaction, much like any other person would have reacted, was to try and diffuse the situation. I don’t remember the exact words he used, but they were something to the effect of “You’re crazy! Of course our baby doesn’t have Down syndrome!”. Being the amazing husband he is, however, he let me voice my concerns.
At this point, we were getting close to arriving at our destination, but I was in full panic mode. I had been feeling like this for weeks, but had been too scared to say anything to anyone, for fear of being dismissed or ridiculed. But now, the floodgates had opened. I was a bawling, sobbing mess. Every fear that I had about our baby came out in that conversation, but at the end of it all, I just could not shake the feeling that our baby had Down syndrome.
Thankfully, my husband is amazing. After listening to how panicked I was, and how much of a real issue this was for me, he reacted perfectly by saying:
“So what? So what if our baby does have Down syndrome? Is that going to change anything? Are we going to love the baby any less?”.
And I remember. I remember we had a very hard, open and honest conversation about what that would look like. We both decided that it would be okay, that we would adjust, that we would be able to handle whatever came our way. We both chose love in that moment. We made the decision to love our baby. End of discussion.
I am sure that Curtis didn’t think twice about that conversation. In his mind, it was the ranting of an overly hormonal, pregnant, emotional woman who throughout the pregnancy had experienced more than one hypochondriac-type moment. For me, however, that conversation replayed almost daily in my mind. Throughout the rest of my pregnancy, that feeling, that foreboding, never went away.
I would mention it to those closest to me, and they did ridicule me for it. (again, I don’t blame them in the least! I think I would have done the same thing in their shoes). I remember developing thick skin, as it because a regular occurrence around the table at dinner with my extended family to poke fun at my hypochondriac ways. I was told that I was imagining things so many times that I truly began to wonder what was wrong with me. If I was the only person who had a feeling, was that just me being paranoid? If I was the only person who had a feeling, was that just me being over-emotional and imagining all the worst-case scenarios? If I was the only person who had a feeling, was I just crazy?
Looking back now, I know.
I know I wasn’t crazy. I know I wasn’t imagining things.
Looking back now, I truly believe that I was being prepared.
That the feeling I carried deep within my soul was, in some way, preparing me for the journey to come.
And so, at the end of it all, I am thankful for the feeling…