Emily

"Everything in our lives prepared us for this..."  My husband said that to me two days after our beautiful daughter, Emily was born.  Emily is a happy, fun-loving, slightly mischievous girl with an infectious giggle.  She also happens to have Down syndrome.  She is a shining star in our lives, and really in the lives of anyone who meets her.  But on that day, two days after she was born, I remember feeling like I had run head-first into a brick wall.  I was a surprised that the doctors had said, "She has indicators of Down syndrome," as they pulled her out.  Not, "It's a beautiful baby girl!"  or "Welcome, baby Emily!"  It was as if she was being defined by her appearance and condition even before I had a chance to see her.  I was appalled at their insensitivity.  I turned to my husband and asked, "What does this mean?"  That was a silly thing to ask.  I knew what Down syndrome was.  I had taught many children with Down syndrome in my fifteen years of teaching music.  My husband and I had even discussed "what if she has Down syndrome?" when we refused an amniocentesis that was strongly recommended because of my "advanced maternal age" of 38.  We refused it because we knew we would never terminate a pregnancy, and we knew there was a risk for the baby involved with an amniocentesis.  We decided that if God believed in us enough to trust us with a child with a disability, then we knew we would be able to handle it. 

What I was really asking was, "Is it going to be all right?"  The answer is, a resounding, YES!  It is all right.  After those first few days of fear of navigating this new life God chose for me, I began to realize what that meant.  God had chosen this life for me!!!  What an honor that is.  God, who knows me better than I know myself, entrusted this precious gift to me to be her mother.  I cannot explain the awesome peace that gave me.  Even if I can't see it in myself, God knows that everything I need to thrive in this journey is already there, within me.  I had heard many times before, "God doesn't make mistakes."  This is true of His trust in me to be Emily's mother, and in His creation of Emily.  She is a perfect reflection of God's love for us. 

I often think of that wise statement my husband made, "Everything in our lives prepared us for this."  I think of how God works throughout our lives, nudging us here, whispering in our ear there, to create the perfect situation that will best support his most precious children.  My husband grew up in a house with daycare children running all around.  He was comfortable with children of varying abilities.  I taught thousands of children in all types of socio-economic settings, and with many different abilities.  We had both worked hard over the years to become people who are accepting of differences, and to grow spiritually.  When my husband said that, it was as if God's hand suddenly became visible to us where He had placed us to get us ready for this moment.  It was a very powerful and moving revelation.

Please know that there is nothing "special" about us that isn't also true of you.  God doesn't make mistakes, and if you are here seeking support, God chose you for a reason, too.  I pray that you will find those special qualities that are within you.  Our children are so worth it!!!

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-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.