Everything will be ok

So I’ve been struggling the last few days. I have this overwhelming feeling to pack up my little family and run – run far, far away. That obviously won’t fix anything since I’m pregnant and my worries are all about my baby growing inside me. I feel like I’ve been in denial. Like I’ve just been saying how accepting we are of this whole thing because that’s what everybody wants to hear. I want everyone to see how ok I am with all of this. And most of the time I am. But all of a sudden I’m filled with anxiety and fear again. What if we don’t have all the support we thought we were going to have? What if we can’t afford to provide all the care needed for our baby with special needs? What if…

On the beach last month Chuck and I promised to stay in the moment and not worry about the future so much. In theory, that’s a wonderful idea (and it’s worked thus far), but you can only ignore your fears for the future for so long. At first our fears were centered around the very distant future – Would our son live with us forever? Could he get a job? Get a high school diploma? Go to college? But then we realized we didn’t know anything about our Eli besides the fact that he has Down syndrome. Why worry about things we have no way to predict? We’ll do everything we can for Eli so he has the best possible life, and future. But now my worries are more centered around the next few years. Will he walk? Talk? Be able to feed himself? Will I have a
“toddler” for the next 5+ years??? I adore my oldest son, Cody, but we’re only at the beginning of the toddler stage and it’s challenging! I don’t know if I can do this for a few extra years, or worst yet, forever. I worry about how different our lives are going to be. I like our life now. I don’t want it to change drastically. What will that do to Cody? Will I be able to give him even half the amount of attention he gets now? I want to focus my energy on getting my baby well (he has a suspected heart defect – an ultrasound will either confirm that suspicion or give us great news on July 3rd). How can I focus on one child without taking my focus off the other? I’m sure this is a concern of many moms facing the birth of their second child. And I know it’s normal and obvious that the first child will not get all the attention of the parents anymore. But our case is different than most. What if Eli needs to spend extended time in the NICU at birth? How do we spend time bonding with Eli and keep Cody feeling secure and comforted? We are a very attached family. He’s never spent the night away from us. He’s only been with a babysitter (his Nana or his Grandma) a few times for a few hours. Everyone says how unhealthy that is for all of us but we just like being together. Now I’m scared that he will feel abandoned when Eli arrives.

I remember the overwhelming fear that hit me the night before my scheduled c-section with Cody. We were cuddling with our two dogs and I said to Chuck, “I don’t want our lives to change. I like it the way it is!”. I laugh thinking back to that night because our lives are so much better now! That next morning my heart exploded with love for my new baby. I have never experienced a love so great. I keep trying to remember that. I was fearful of change before Cody’s arrival. I’m fearful of the change that will occur with Eli’s arrival. Will it be different? Of course. But my heart has room for more love.

I’ve heard it said that once you receive this diagnosis for your child you go through a mourning period, grieving the loss of the child you thought you were having. Sadly, I am all too familiar with grief. I know it goes through stages. I know it comes and goes. I will not beat up on myself for going backwards in my grief. I know tomorrow, or next week, or next month my feelings will once again be different. I am so thankful we received Eli’s diagnosis prenatally. Many people have to deal with this roller coaster of emotions all while trying to bond with and care for their baby when they find out at birth that their child has Down syndrome. I can only imagine how difficult that must be. So, I am grateful to be able to go through this now, when Eli is completely unaware. I pray that when he arrives my heart will once again be exploding with love and everything will truly be ok.

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2 comments on “Everything will be ok

  1. Mel, When I read this post, I remember feeling very scared that I was not going to be able to love my second child. I was so overwhelmingly in love with Lexi and obsessed with her and I honestly felt like the new child was an intruder on my relationship with Lexi, I couldn’t imaging having anymore love to give to another child. I was really scare that I was not going to be able to love another child. But it comes, it just happens like a miracle. It is a miracle! Love you and thinking praying for you every day. Nat

  2. I remember before we had kids, I would get annoyed with friends who constantly pushed the “when are you going to have kids? They are so great! You are missing out!” rhetoric. It wasn’t that I didn’t want kids, we just didn’t want them yet. After we had Torsten, I understood the joy of having a child and how much love I had for him. I also understood better why my friends were so pushy, they just wanted everyone around them to have the same joy their child or children gave them. Since then most of my local friends have been people who only have one kid so I didn’t hear much pushing for us to have a 2nd. We eventually decided to have Rowan and it was so hard to fathom how our lives could change so drastically and still be as good. Like you, I loved our life, our routine and Torstens place in it. I couldn’t imagine how I could love another little baby and still love Torsten the same and give him what he needed. And like you’re doing, I just kept reminding myself how hard it was to fathom the changes happening in my life while I was prego with T. Now that we have two, I just get so excited every time I learn a friend or family member is have a second child. I can’t say I go around telling people to hurry up and have another, cuz that’s obnoxious, lol but I know the fun and joy I have with two and get so excited for other people to experience it as well. I watch Rowan and Torsten and they are just so special with each other, love each other so much and their interactions are hysterical and heart warming. And Rowan is his own special, totally unique little person that awes me every day just like Torsten does and fills my heart with love. I know it’s so unfathomable but even with Eli’s diagnosis I have no doubts that your heart WILL explode (a million times a day) and everything will be ok. And I can’t say enough how excited I am for you to have the joy of watching your two boys grow. Isn’t that so fun to say? “my boys” It was so weird and strange at first and now they are my heart… my boys. Your boys are going to be amazing, just like their parents, and you are in for so much fun (and stress and struggle and annoyance and frustration and love and awe and….. hehe) Oh and get used to saying “be careful with him, he’s still a baby!!” lol and “Don’t let your brother eat that!” hehe Torsten oscillates a few dozen times an hour between sweet brotherly love and being totally annoyed and oblivious. One moment he is blocking the little step into the living room, moving back and forth like a goalie saying “roro dats not por you, don’t touch, it not sape, you pall down” or giving rowan a piece of his peanut butter toast. (yeah, thanks for sharing torsten, so much for “no PB till 1 year old!” lmao Give up on childproofing with a toddler in the house! hehe) The next moment he is shoving brother with his feet for grabbing at his special blanky or yanking a toy out of his hands saying “rowan dats mine! mawmaw he bodering me!” Rowan cries when Torsten leaves the room and T is my little helper, such a loving little daddy in training. Devon and I spend so much time just staring at them, glancing at each other, sighing, and saying “gosh I love our boys.” I know you and chuck will be doing the same thing very soon. Cody is going to be an amazing big brother and Eli is going to be the best little brother for him. oh my and just think what a group our four will be when the whole family gets together!! lol

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