Monday, October 22, 2012

Pride - 31 for 21

There are so many thoughts that run through your head when you first learn that your child has Down syndrome.

I felt so alone.  I couldn't help but think of all the people having babies that were all typical.  All normal.  It was so unfair.  "Why did this have to happen to me?" I silently wailed. 

One of my biggest stresses was deciding how to introduce her to the world.  I was so embarrassed for everyone to see how I had failed.  I was ashamed to show off a baby with "defects."

I didn't announce or post about her birth right away at all.  I told my mom and sister a few hours after Cora was born, but told them not to tell anyone outside the immediate family.  I needed to feel that I was ready.  I didn't post photos on Facebook or send out an announcement e-mail.  I sat in my bed, in a daze.  Exhausted. In shock.  I felt that it was both the happiest and saddest day of my life.

A few days after she was born and we'd been dealing with the stresses of life in the NICU, I was ready to announce her arrival to my friends and family.  I asked my family to start telling people, knowing that the word would spread.  We sent out a message to friends and family, introducing Cora, explaining her diagnosis, heart defect and NICU stay, and told the world how much we loved her.  And we did.

Later, I posted pictures on Facebook to rave reviews.  At one month old, I posted my very first blog post on Our Cora Bean.

But still I worried about what the rest of the world would think.  Would they look at our girl and know?  Would they pity us?  I remember taking her on her first real outing to get bagels.  She was in her carrier, draped with a cotton blanket to try and keep the worst germs at bay.  It was her debut, in a sense.  I can't say that I didn't still feel a little lingering worry, but on that day as I took out my tiny girl, I felt pride.

I was a proud new mom, finally able to take my new daughter out into the world (not just to the hospital or the doctor.)

As time passed and I grew to know her and love her more each day, that pride grew.  I would push her around in her stroller and smile a proud mama's smile.  People would praise her, of course.  I was the mother to the most beautiful girl in the world.

I still am.  And if anything, my pride just continues to grow.  Instead of wondering if people can tell that she has DS, I pretty much assume that people know.  But instead of being nervous about it, I just think that everyone should be so lucky.  Everyone should know this kind of love.  Everyone should be as blessed as I am.

Every once in a while, I do catch some lingering looks, a few pointed stares, and quite a bit of people who just look away.  And less often than that, I find myself wondering what people are thinking, wondering if they are pitying us.  Sometimes it stings a little, but not for very long.

Really, I am just trying to love my girl in the best way I can, and to let the world see her and see my love.

When others see how proud I am, they must know that I have something to be proud about.

Because, really, I do.


  1. I love your honesty. I felt much like you did those first few days and I had the same hard time telling everyone about Owen having Ds. In fact I really couldn't talk about it over the phone, so I had to send emails to my closest friends because I had a hard time checking my emotions. But now I feel the same thing you feel = absolute pride!

  2. Ah, I totally relate to this. Russell was about five weeks early so no one even knew we had him...The Ds diagnosis the morning after he was born knocked everything out of me. I completely shut down. We didn't tell people for a few days that Russell was born...And then not for a few weeks after that did we mention that he had Ds...I just couldn't find the words to tell people. Most found out through my first blog post, I figured it was the fastest way to tell everyone at the same time.

    I feel the same as you...Just overwhelming pride in my son :)

  3. I love this post Leah, thank you for sharing it.

  4. Great post Leah! Love the pic too..those beautiful blue eyes, and look how big and mature she's getting, my goodness! Thanks for sharing :)


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