Just a quick post to mark Audrey’s first birthday!
Here she is this morning. Ted and I had the day off whilst she got spoilt at nursery. We went to a photography exhibition and stuffed our faces at Five Guys (in the sunshine in London!).
Sunday was Audrey’s party in the park with friends and family…here she is with Mummy and Daddy…
Amazing to be one year in. I still wish we knew then what we know now, but I also get what Ted subscribes to… That you have to live through the tough times to appreciate the good. But I do feel like I was robbed of joy. Somehow we need to teach people that DS isn’t something to be screened out of society. Why are we trying to cull them? The screening message just makes you feel like it’s a very bad thing that must be avoided… But I don’t want to dwell on the negative here. Today was Audrey’s 1st birthday and she was surrounded by love and happiness.
She is the best.
I’ve been saying (and thinking) “I’m so proud of you Audrey!” a lot lately and today it reminded me of something… Another shameful admission from Audrey’s early days when I was perhaps not quite as far a long as I thought.
I took her into Ted’s work (I think for the first time, so she was probably about 1 or 2 months old) and his work colleague said; “she’s lovely, you must be so proud?” and I smiled and nodded… But inside I actually thought “Proud? Really?”. I remember thinking it was a strange choice of words. I was still in a zone where part of me felt I’d created a “broken” baby.
Unfortunately I was a little… now ashamed feels like too strong a word… but I was certainly not proud of my baby in those early days. Part of this was the tube on her face. I felt like if failed as a mother, to have made a sickly baby, one that had medical complications. Of course it probably didn’t help that my mother admitted that before Audrey she assumed that babies with tubes on their faces probably had a mother who smoked during pregnancy!
In those early months I didn’t let my feelings out. I certainly never hid Audrey away, but inside I knew I wasn’t proud to show her off. I was just sort of muddling through because I knew she needed me. At some point of course this changed dramatically. I gradually came to realise that Audrey wasn’t “broken” and her DS wasn’t my “fault”. Life is just complicated. Things don’t always go to plan, but the change in plan isn’t necessarily bad. In fact it’s an amazing feeling when something you felt so negative about suddenly becomes this positive in your life. I do actually smile to myself about all those worries I had, especially when she’s giggling at me or clapping with joy. She’s a light in our lives and I can’t believe I doubted she would be anything but.
So anyway, I saw a group of pregnant women meeting for lunch on Monday. I made a (bad) joke to my brother (who was with me) that I wouldn’t get Audrey out of her buggy as I didn’t want to scare them. In reality I wanted to visit their table with Audrey and tell them that if any of them had a baby with DS they had nothing to fear – the baby would be wonderful and beautiful, but mostly importantly, still yours and you will love them. But I’m not that dramatic. We had our lunch and Audrey was out of the buggy on our laps, the mums-to-be didn’t seem to register we were there (I’m pretty sure I barely acknowledged babies when I was pregnant, except to check out their prams!), but of course I still wondered… Did they notice her and her DS? People are always acknowledging Audrey and how cute she is, yet these women didn’t so much as smile or nod… But I am probably reading way too much into nothing. Still, I wish I was dramatic enough to tell them just how great Audrey is!
Oh, here’s the monkey at physio last week…