It was not long ago that I would look at parents with special needs children and think, "I'm so glad that's not me". And during my pregnancies with both boys, I often expressed fear of having a child with Down Syndrome by saying, "I just don't think I could handle that. I honestly don't know what I'd do".
Well here I am....I've been one of those parents now for almost 3 months and now I know I can and will continue to handle this with as much grace and strength as I can find. Now I know the answer of how I would handle being a parent of a child with Down Syndrome - I lean heavily on my faith, family and friends. In those first couple of weeks, I had absolutely no strength of my own. There were many times I cried so hard that I'd fall into Bob's arms and could barely stand on my own. I spent much of those first weeks on my knees crying to God, asking him "why" and begging for strength and peace. I relied on phone messages, emails and cards from friends and family. The first 2 weeks were awful....really awful.
But they were also the best 2 weeks of my life. I felt a communion with God I'd never felt before - a closeness I never imagined. Each morning, as I dragged myself out of bed, stumbled down the stairs and fell to my knees beside our red couch, God led me to places in the Bible that gave me strength and courage. Scripture like:
"So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isa 41:10
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psa 46:1
"With God, all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
and so many more....
After the first 2 weeks, the shock began to wear off and I began to sink into our new life. Each day I have a time of sadness - some are passing thoughts, some are hours of grieving, but I know now that I have the strength and the relationships to get me through.
I am so aware now of how blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life and am trying desperately to not take that for granted.