In light of a dear girlfriend of mine just having given birth to a precious baby girl with Down Syndrome, I have recently given much thought to the wondrous and incomprehensible miracle we call life. Ordained by God and all a part of His perfect plan, yet seldom in line with our own expectations and the way we think it ought to be. I was speaking with my mom yesterday about her adventures in raising my older sister who is mentally retarded. While on one hand she admits the difficulties and challenges, she was also happy to confess the fulfillment she never imagined possible as a young mom whose firstborn did not meet her expectations of motherhood. Some of the more difficult times would come when other moms were proudly proclaiming the milestones and accomplishments of their children. On a much smaller scale I can relate. My oldest son has a sensory disorder that delayed some of his motor development. In addition, he is ambidextrous and at six still hasn’t figured out which hand to write with or which leg to use when kicking a soccer ball. Needless to say, he has not done terribly well in sports and for some time the sensory disorder was a large distraction to his daily routine and ultimately the leading factor in our decision to homeschool. Raising him has definitely not gone as I was “planning” it would for the nine months he tumbled around in my belly. I think of my friend and her response to having a daughter with Downs. She shared that one of the biggest hurdles to overcome was her own self pride. Like any parent, we desire a healthy and flawless child and often from the time of conception begin planning and dreaming of their grand success in life. When our plans abruptly and unexpectedly change it can often send us on a whirlwind. The thing to remember is that special needs or not, it’s always going to be different than you envisioned it to be. And once you get past that, it’s OK. My friend has adjusted really well to the change in plans, and she and her husband are truly the absolute perfect parents for little Addie. My mom also adjusted well and has raised a fine young and mentally retarded women. There are seldom answers when children are born with disabilities, at least not any that are truly satisfying. No real reasons to pinpoint and nothing that could have been done differently. It isn’t always easy, but you press on; adjusting your plans to those intended by God. I am sure that my friend, my mom and many many others would agree that the why is far less important than the now.
For support, insight and inspiration, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.