Everything I wrote in that post I felt. I don’t want to go back and change anything. We did take it…well… but that’s not to say that we did it right. Because the honest truth of getting ANY diagnosis with your child is that there is no right way to handle it. What matters is that you let yourself feel what needs to be felt, and then, at your pace, you begin to heal and move forward.
I am not against prenatal testing (I am against the most common use for it, though) . I think it’s very important to know what you’re dealing with. I’ve heard people say, “We don’t get tested because it wouldn’t change anything anyways.” I understand that, but testing does change things. If your baby comes back with a diagnosis, you will receive a higher level of care. This is SO important. Had Abby not been induced the morning she was born (my labor had stopped, they were going to send me home, but I had already had an epidural put in so they went ahead with it) we could have very well lost her. By that time, the placenta had not only stopped functioning, it had crumbled.
Prenatal testing for parents who don’t consider abortion is still a double edged sword. With a prenatal diagnosis, you’re left with all of the worry and none of the joy. And then you have the rest of your pregnancy just to sit with the news. That’s ROUGH.
And I’m not saying that those who have a diagnosis at delivery don’t have the right to be upset about it either. Or a diagnosis of anything else later in your child’s life. My son, Casey, was diagnosed with autism at 18 months. That was a terrible time for me. It took me a long time to process that I had a special needs child and that I was a special needs parent. I grieved HARD over the loss of the life I thought I had wanted. Everything changes when your child gets diagnosed with a life changing condition. And it’s okay to go through any emotions you need to with that.
When Abby was born, I already was a Special Needs parent. My life had already been radically shifted to a new normal. I had only positive experiences with people with Down syndrome, many of which were in the preschool programs with Casey. I was okay with it at birth, to be quite honest with you, because I was SO worried she’d have autism. In the special ed programs Casey had been in I had been, quite honestly, jealous of the parents of children with Down syndrome. Their kids seemed so much easier in comparison.
Life is teaching me new lessons. Abby is easier than Casey, medical issues included. But it’s comparing apples and oranges. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that there were many times I just wished she was normal. That our life was normal. There are times when a certain kind of sadness comes creeping in. When it does, it’s okay.
Emotions are okay. It’s okay to feel a little pissed off at the hand you’ve been dealt. You didn’t sign up for this and you’re not a bad person or a bad parent for saying that. It is what it is. If you’re really struggling, now or in the future, get help. Get good meds. Do whatever you have to. The best thing you can do for your child is to be healthy and as close to sane as you can be.
It’s going to be hard. There will be days and even weeks without sleep. There will be small heartbreaks and large trials. But it’s going to be so good. I promise you that. In fact, in a year, come back and tell me how right I was. I love being right.
(My husband took this picture last night. Abby held on to me so tight after I had a terrible day and pretty crummy week. She makes things better)