It's not only the start to a new year, but today Nate turned one. It is so hard to believe. On one hand, it feels like SO long ago that we first held him, and on the other, it feels like the year flew by.
At this time last year, we were only 9 hours into parenting Nate. We were in shock and very, very sad. His diagnosis would not be confirmed until a week later, but in our hearts, we knew Nate had Down syndrome. We cried so much that week. There were many times I cried so hard I could not even stand. I was afraid to be alone - overwhelmed by the thoughts and unknowns running through my mind. It was the hardest time in my life. I suddenly felt like the pregnancy I'd just experienced had all been a lie. Like I had an expectation and a vision that was so completely different from the reality of what would be.
Reading reflections on other blogs, I often read that people wish they hadn't wasted time being sad at the beginning. That now that they were several years down the road they realize that their sadness was not neccesary. So, today I asked myself if I wish I hadn't had the reaction I had. If I wish I hadn't been so sad. If I wish I hadn't spent hours on my knees begging God to take Nate back. If I wish I'd recognized him as a gift from the start. My answer: NO! If I hadn't had the reaction I had a year ago, I wouldn't be able to realize how far I'd come today. I wouldn't be able to relate to the fear and sadness so many have when they get the results of pre- or postnatal testing.
Over this last year I have grown a lot.
I've come to understand that this life I'm living is not all about me. This life I'm living has purpose. This life I'm living is capable of changing other lives. This life I'm living may look different from "the norm", but I'm guessing it may end up being a lot fuller because of it.
In those early weeks after Nate was born, I wanted to hide him. I was embarrassed by him, felt like there was something wrong with our reproductive capabilities, didn't want anyone to ask questions or make comments. I'd go to the store and make sure he was fully hidden in his little carseat.
Now, I show him proudly! His smile and innocence melts the hearts of just about anyone who comes in contact with him. I honestly, truly, deeply believes he is a gift. And gifts are meant to be shared.
In the coming weeks I hope to share some of the thoughts I had at this time last year (especially since I didn't start blogging until March). This may be especially helpful for those who are new on this journey, but I also hope it will show you how far I (and we) have come. God is so good.
Thanks again for all of your support and love. We are grateful beyond measure.