When you have a baby, you suddenly realise you are at the beginning of a very long journey. You look at this tiny bundle that is totally reliant on you and the scale of what you’ve taken on hits you – they need you for at least the next 18 years.
Now imagine that heavy realisation combined with all the preconceptions about Down’s Syndrome…
My husband has this amazing positivity that can turn anything into a good thing. When Audrey was just weeks old he was saying how lucky we would be potentially never experiencing “empty nest”! I liked his thinking, however I had always (when thinking about having children) imagined the “pay off” towards the end when they look after you!
It is natural to always be looking to the future (Where will our next holiday be? Where is my career going? etc), but Audrey is (slowly) helping me to focus on the present. Wondering and worrying about when she might crawl, when she might get teeth and what sort of adult she might be… It’s all pointless. I can’t predict these things and why do I need to know when these things will happen?! Do parents of “typical” babies fret about these things?
One of the biggest realisations after becoming a parent of a special needs child, is that life goes on and in not much of a different way to how you imagined it. However there are times where I worry we are in denial about what having DS means to Audrey and her life. Other times I’m just thankful we are positive people and that we don’t let it get on top of us.
The fact remains that Audrey’s life will be different to that of a typical child. There will be more challenges and there will be difficult times, but that doesn’t have to be our focus, we can choose to carry on as “normal”. I have certainly said many times how glad I am that we didn’t know Audrey had DS when I was pregnant. The pregnancy was so happy and we had no time to fret or form ideas about this baby growing inside me… It was relatively worry-free.
I think the best plan is to enjoy the journey and let the road unfold ahead of us like the magical mystery tour that it should be…The ups and the downs…We’ve already shown we can handle surprises…