Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Comes Early

A letter in this mornings email box:

"Just wanted you to know that I have reason to thank you and the readers of you blog, Chewing the Fat. I found your blog when I was looking for a blog that gave positive messages about weight - I have a friend who is pretty self conscious about her size and I thought that it might help her to read about others who face weight struggles. You blog popped up when I did a search and I read a few postings and discovered that the blog really wasn't what I thought it would be. But I admit to be captivated by what I read.

I continued to look for a blog for my friend but I found myself coming by every other day to read your posts. I admit I shook my head in anger sometimes at your viewpoints. Other times I agreed with you wholeheartedly. What captured me almost as much as what you wrote were some of the people who commented on your blogs. Many were parents of kids with disabilities and they wrote such with such incredible love for their children.

Last week I was informed by my doctor that the baby I am carrying will most probably be a child with Down Syndrome. I had the test because I suspected that I was at risk for a child 'with complications'. I surprised myself by thanking the doctor for the information and then informed her that I had changed my mind and had decided to keep my baby. The doctor didn't take the news well and became almost angry at my decision. She told me not to make the decision in haste, which I wasn't. She said that I was recovering from shock, again, I wasn't. She told me to think of the consequences, I had.

It's just that as I read your blog about disability and read what these parents had to say, the whole thing seemed different in my mind. I'm thinking differently about the baby, about who the baby could be. I've looked up the names of some of the people with Down Syndrome you've mentioned. I was startled to find the lives of contribution they have made. I don't care if any of my children grow up to be janitors or a presidents, I just care that they are loved and happy. I think I'm as much up to that with this child as I would be with my other children.

I count the day that I found 'Chewing the Fat' as a big day in my life. I thank you for your time in writing it. I thank those people who parent their kids with such obvious love and hope for commenting, for becoming real to me through their words and their own blogs.

There must be times you wonder if writing a post every morning matters. In this great whole world, who knows, but in my small world - it has.

Thankyou for your blog.

Thankyou for being, kind of, this child's Godfather.

You may, if you wish, pass my letter along. Please omit my name, just until I have time to tell the rest of my family the news about the baby and my decision."

Part of my letter back:

"You couldn't have made my day any brighter. It's a freezing cold day here in Baxter, our furnace doesn't come on for another 10 minutes, but my heart is warm. Congratulations are first in order, but I wonder if you could let me know where you live. I travel a lot giving trainings and lectures, I would so like to meet you, and I'd love to meet the baby. I love the 'fresh baby' smell (not all of those smells but you know the one I mean) and I'd love to be a small part of your child's life. Let me know if this is overstepping the wonderful boundary of anonymity that we share as blog writer, blog reader. I'll respect your wishes.

I know that your letter will brighten the lives of all 'Fat' commentors, but remember that as you tell others, you can expect a similar reaction to the one you got from the Doctor. Don't let those set you back. If you've been reading the blog, we've all talked about the fact that the greatest challenge is the attitude of others. It's your attitude of love and acceptance that matters, don't give in to the negativity of others. Nows the time where you might want to reach out at beyond "Fat" to parent organizations and support groups. You are going to find the most awesome group of women and men that you can imagine. When I spoke in Vancouver at the Down Syndrome Congress, I was overwhelmed by the parents there and the bond they shared with each other and the love they showed to their children.

But I've fallen into advice giving and I don't want that, I just wanted to say thanks for the letter but also thanks for thinking deeply about what it is to be a mom, to want a child and to raise a child. Welcome to the journey. I hope to meet you, and hope to be part of that journey, but it's your call."

To Fat Readers ... consider the comment section our 'congratulations' card and sign on, this child has many many Godparents ...

73 comments:

Andrea S. said...

Congrats, "Mom," from someone who has been reading Dave's blog for nearly a year now!

Anonymous said...

Dear new mom,
Congratulations! I know that your child will bring you more joy than you can ever imagine. I am so excited for you! Dave is right, people will take their cue from your attitude toward your child.

Please visit my favourite Down syndrome forum http://www.network54.com/Forum/244888/ and you might want to check out this amazing video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny0TrfQhchY&feature=related

Anjie
mom to Adam (5 years old with Down syndrome) http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=4a75ae0b90d8393038ecd1&skin_id=601&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, a new baby is so exciting!

CM

Anonymous said...

Congrats. I have a 15 year old daughter who was born with a disbility (not Down Syndrome) and she brings such joy to my life everyday.
Once a few years ago she was in the room while her sister and I were discussing some people who had been telling people with disabilities they needed to try to be as "normal" as possible.
She said to us, "What's the big deal about normal? I'm not normal and there's nothing wrong with me".
As a mother, that was one of my proudest moments!

Grace

wendy said...

Congrats! And thank you so much for sharing your story! Don't let anyone else rain on your parade. People who don't know just don't know. I am so glad you were lead to this blog to read what you needed to read.

Susan said...

Thank you so much for opening this little window to your life that reveals so much. The attitude changes expressed in your letter to Dave will have a ripple and encourage so many people... and cause others to look at things differently too. CONGRATULATIONS on both counts. On your precious bundle that is on it's way, and on being so real about the process of change. I, for one, will be watching for the birth announcement!

Belinda said...

Wow. My heart is celebrating and I feel like crying with joy at a life that will "be" because this pregnant friend of Fat read the words that landed here.

A life is the most sacred, profound thing. No human can create it and I'm glad that our friend did not allow it to be intentionally taken.

This life will be celebrated and blessed from the start.

Congratulations dear friend "out there"!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Please check out www.archiesroom.com. It's the diary of a journey started a little more than four years ago and is awesome, incredible, and very full of love, learning and joy. Again congratulations, Archie's NaNa

steph said...

Congratulations! I have a 2 year old son with Down syndrome, and he's just the absolute light of our lives.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your soon to be addition to your family.

Cindy B

Pat Faulk said...

Dear "new Ma!"
I am so excited for you and your family!! Congrats!
I feel like jumping up and down!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful, blessed life and thanks for making such a good decision!! It may be hard at times but when it is, know that there are many others here cheering you on!!
All my love, prayers and good wishes!
Pat

Kei said...

Dear new mom~ Congratulations!!!! Anjie has shared the link to one of our favorite Down syndrome online communities~ you will find friendship and support there. My son has brought me not only the joy and love that all my children have, but also an amazing group of friends across the world that I would never have known were out there.

Dave~ Thank you from the depths of my heart for being here.

Megan said...

Congratulations!! What a beautiful letter.

There are some fabulous blogs out there written by parents of kids with Down Syndrome. As well as the forum that Anjie posted, there are others as well. Find one you like, and jump right in. :)

Megan
Abby's mom (2 1/2 yrs with Down Syndrome)

Nelba said...

Congratulations!

Jessica said...

WOW! Your child is so lucky to have a mom like you! You are way ahead of the game girl! This is my 7th year raising my amazing daughter Sophia (DS), and I have to tell you that it gets better and better every day. My cup runneth over! I know you are getting bombarded with website/info but you MUST check out the following:

www.benotafraid.net
(great for expectant parents of all kinds of diagnoses)

www.gigisplayhouse.org
(contact them to get a Celebration packet delivered to you ASAP!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_0K-gPlyb0
("I have a voice" campaign featuring children with DS-perfect to email out to friends and family when you are ready)

Feel free to reply back for more info!
Jessica

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS To the new momma!!!! I'm so jealous, I have been trying to convince my dh for several years to have "one more". Every baby is a blessing. I said a prayer of thanks after reading your letter to Dave. I think there was a heavenly hand guiding you here, and to Dave.
Once again, Congratulations to you.
Tammy

Lianna said...

Congratulations to New Mom! We have an almost three year old son with Down syndrome. We really could not imagine our lives differently if Gabe never had Down syndrome.

You're on your way into an amazing journey! And, parents like me, are out here, willing to listen and share our own experiences with you.

Congratulations again!!!

Lianna & Family

Julia said...

First let me say Congrats!
Now, I don't want to be negative, but...You know those tests are ofter wrong. I sure hope you prepare yourself and your family that there is a possibility that you could just be blessed with a run of the mill "typical" child. Please don't dwell on it too much. Perhaps you could seek out support and arm yourself with info on how to handle this if it is to occur. "Typical" children are too a blessing, so don't be too worried :)
Loved you comment about not caring if your children grew up to be janitors or the pres. What helped me A LOT is when my hubby said "Wouldn't you be more upset if they had a test for Jerk and the baby came back as positive. You NEVER know what you are actually getting."
Again, CONGRATS, no matter how you are blessed!

Jodi said...

Congratulations! I have a 17 year old son. It gives me chills when I read about how you found this blog by accident and how it has now affected your future in such a positive way.

FridaWrites said...

Congratulations--you'll be a great mom.

Bee said...

There are (rightfully so) a lot of parents of children with disabilities and others who work with PWD giving their congratulations and support. But I would like to add in my thoughts.

I don't have a kid with Down Syndrome, or any other disability. I don't have children at all so I can't speak to the joy of cradling your new infant. Nor do I have family members with disabilities so I can't speak about the blessing that God put in my life through them.

But I live in your towns and cities. I have dear friends and neighbors with disabilities. What I can speak to is how I never want to have a community without people with disabilities.

Remember that your child will not only be a blessing to you and your family but also to everyone they will meet and befriend and cook dinner with and live near and share an office with. Parent organizations and support groups aren't the only people who are absolutely thrilled about the child you are carrying!

Congrats!!

Defying gravity said...

Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I was sat at the computer feeling over worked and full of stress. I thought I would read a bit of Dave to motivate me to do something useful. I read and I have sat and cried. I have rembembered again that I am lucky to do the job I do. Thanks

rechal said...

Mazel tov! And here's a news flash -- there are very few children of any description who will grow up to be president or find a cure for cancer. But you never know -- we may soon have either an African-American or female president. Maybe a DS president is next?

Rachel said...

Wow, I have tears in my eyes.

Joyful Fox said...

Dear Mom,

I rejoice with you at a new life begun!

This little one in your womb has a place here - love to give and receive- and work to do. This little one has been called, as have you!

It's neat how each seemingly small thing has a purpose - finding a blog, reading it, and now you and we understand more fully, why.

What a beautiful journey to share with so many. What a beautiful way to begin the parenting journey!

Your courage has forged the way already for this little one.

The divine hand of our Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me. Another child formed in the womb, in His image. Another miracle!

Rejoice!

rickismom said...

First, here's hoping you reach the end of your pregnancy successfully (you can never take things for granted....)
And MAZEL TOV!.
And be prepared... kids with DS are individuals, and like all kids can be downright ornrey, selfish, cranky, lazy, etc. My daughter Ricki (age 13 with DS) is all of these.But, like all kids she can also be: concerned, helpfull, loving, courageous, and a hard worker.
You might enjoy my blog (reach it by clicking on user name).

Another good site about DS is an ACTIVE bulletin board, UNO MAS
http://www.unomas21.com/

Jo said...

I just want to say that my daughter has Down syndrome and has completely turned our lives around for the better. We have embraced her life and she has made us better friends and better parents because of her

We are so proud of her, we never imagined just what she would do and even appeared on TV. She just draws people to her and she justbrings out the best in people. Hopefully you will be able to see her in this photo montage we did of her

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od5KetQjBpM

Anonymous said...

Sending you much love and congratulations from the UK!

Looking forward to news of a new arrival.

A celtic blessing for you and your bump:

May your life in this world be a happy one.
May the sun be warm and be the skies be blue.
May each storm that comes your way, clear the air for a brighter day,
May the saints and saviour watch over you.


Lola x

ms bond said...

Dear Mother-to-be,

congratulations! How exciting for you and your family!

Dear Dave,

congratulations! Just think---this babe is going to be so lucky to have you as an honorary Godfather!

Anonymous said...

Well, congratulations, Mum!

Mary said...

Dear new Mom, you just won the lottery. This child will bring you more joy than you can ever imagine. If you are interested, check out the forums at www.downsyn.com where you will meet hundreds of parents of children with DS, all in love with their kids. Mary C (mom of the amazing Anna, age 4 with DS and already reading!).

theknapper said...

What a lucky baby.....so wanted and loved.
Let us know when babe arrives!
Take good care.

Pat said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! My son is 26 now and has DS. My life was forever changed-for the better on the day he was born. He has worked at Chili's for 7 1/2 years. He is a joy to all he meets. You will receive more from him or her than you could ever give. Let us all know when you welcome your baby into this world. Pat

Veralidaine said...

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations! A new life that is wanted, loved, and embraced is a moment for all in the world to take a moment and celebrate.

A moment of silence as I write this for every baby born to a family that doesn't embrace the occasion as a joyful one.

A moment of silence as I type for every mother who is bullied into terminating a wanted pregnancy by disphobic doctors and family.

A moment of silence also for every child who is growing into an adult and realizing that, had his mother listened to her doctor, he wouldn't exist.

And finally, a moment of silence for the misguided sensibilities of activists who think that disphobia is a good way to defend a woman's right to choose.

But let's outweight that silence with cheers and hugs. Sadness brings silence; let joy bring NOISE. We're making some NOISE here in this blog about the joyous event you're about to experience: The birth of a child you love, want, and welcome into the world with all your heart.

CONGRATULATIONS, and never stop making NOISE about how much you love your baby!

jenhiatt said...

Congrats on your baby!! You have no idea how that little extra chromosome will change your life.
Check out my blog sometime and you can see my perfect little boy and all his joys!!

amy flege said...

as a mom to a child with Down syndrome I say congratulations!! no matter what the outcome, you will be sooo blessed!!!

Stephanie said...

I have never really read this blog, but to the new mother - Congratulations. You are about to begin a journey that you have only dreamed about. May it be as blessed and as wonderful as the last 18 months in mine have been.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, your child will have a wonderful mother, one who is not blind to the difficulties you and your child will face but has looked beyond them to the joy of that little child's life. Your letter to Dave has brought me a smile in the midst of a difficult day and difficult couple of weeks.

Thank you

Myr

Jim said...

For Dave; As I sat reading your blog I am struck again by how powerful words are. The unexpected connection those words made for a Mom who found hope for her child when looking for some for her friend. But it is more than just words, your thoughts, commitments and beliefs come through loudly on your blog daily. Thanks; you make a difference.

For Mom: How lucky your child is with you for a mom and you to be a new mom (but you already know that).

Anonymous said...

Congrats!! I know pregnancy post-diagnosis can be an emotional roller coaster (been there!) but it is SO worth it!!
There are a lot of great websites out there for support. Here is one specifically geared towards women pregnant with babies with Down syndrome: http://boards.babycenter.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?webtag=bcus5536
Also, order the "Gifts" book - it has a lot of stories from moms who went through a prenatal diagnosis - with a variety of people participating, I promise you will find a story - or many- that resonates with you. We are in it!
Here is the link:
http://www.giftsds.segullah.org/

Or you can go into a Barnes & Noble and look in the special needs section.

Good luck! this is the toughest part.
Nancy I.

luvmypeanut said...

Congratulations on your pending bundle of joy. He or she will bring amazing gifts to your life!

Please join us at the website Anjie and Kei mentioned. You will find a wonderful group of mostly moms (although some dads join us too!) who have traveled the path you are now on. We know all about the attitudes, the sideways stares and doom and gloom stories. Come to us when they bog you down... when the path gets a bit weary...we'll pick you up and walk with you and maybe even carry you a ways!

Dave is an amazing person. I only know him online but what a gift he has. I feel alot of the things he writes about but I can't get them on paper (or should I say cyberspace) quite like he does.

Thanks Dave for your insight, your wisdom and your determination! Thank you for putting it out in cyberspace for people like us and like the new mommy who wrote to you. A beautiful baby lives because of you!!!! Because of people like you and like our new mommy, those attitudes will change and more beautiful babies will survive!

Suelle said...

Congratulations! I can honestly say that reading Dave's blog & seeing him give a presentation has changed the way I look at everything also.
Wonderful!

Heike said...

Congratulations, New Mum, from us here in Sydney, Australia. You are an amazing mother already - and don't let anyone tell you anything else. Some things can be pre-natally tested, some can not (like CP, or autism, or indeed, being a jerk, becoming a liar, etc.) and all you can do is love and accept.

Congratulations, Dave. If ever you have any doubts about your blog, can you please re-read New Mum's letter and keep going? This is why the world needs you!

WheresMyAngels said...

Congratulation's on your pregnancy. You probably won't have a child with DS, since I imagine you got the results from the AFP (drs just like to scary all people with that one, lol), but either way you are going to be a Fabulous mother!! I have two bio children with DS who are now in their teens. I wouldn't trade them for anything (oh except a date with George Clooney, ha ha). Good luck with your pregnacy! May you continue to be blessed!

And Dave, thank you so much for posting such a great inspirational blog. I got to remember to email my coworkers with this link (I work for an organization that provides supports for people with disabilities).

Gayla

Meredith said...

Congratulations! Having a child with Down syndrome is one thing I would never change. In fact, I just got back from Eastern Europe to pick up two more :) You will be blessed!

Meredith

Nicole said...

Precious Expecting Mommy,

My husband and I are both sitting here in tears as we read Dave's column today. My husband has gotten a bit jealous of Dave over the months as I often call him in to read to him from "Chewing the Fat". :)

As we have so often shaken our heads in a hearty amen, tonight we say thanks to God for your baby's life.

Honestly if I could only pick one journey in my lifetime it would be to parent this child that God has blessed me with who has T21. She completes me beyond any words that I can share.

I have no doubt that you will be blessed beyond your wildest imagination. We often say it's like a secret club that you had no idea you wanted to be a part of, but when you get that membership your life becomes so much better!

I too knew prenatally and had a hard time 8 years ago finding anyone who had walked the road before me. Please feel free to email me if I can do anything at all for you!

Nicole nicjoe@roadrunner.com

Anonymous said...

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Michelle said...

Congratulations!

FBF Rothkopf said...

Hooray, a new baby!!! Mazal Tov!! And what a lucky lucky baby that will be, with a mom so thoughtful about what it means to be a parent.

Dave, Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone.

Mom, keep us posted!

Francine (mom to Sofia, rampaging toddler with DS, and her two older brothers)

Shan said...

Oh, congratulations on your pregnancy and thank you for writing such a beautiful letter. You made me cry and cry.

Anonymous said...

I cannot remember the last time i have been so moved at the way different lives can touch each other. What an extraordinary testament to this new mum, to Dave and to the incredible way that a blog can indeed create a commuity that genuinely and powerfully affects peoples lives. The virtual world is virtual no more - this is a real community that enriches peoples lives. Truly amazing.

Sara said...

Oh Congrats!! :) I am the Mom of a 9 yr old boy who was born with Down syndrome. Nathaniel is th elight of my life! My Blog is www.itsalwayssomething@blogspot.com Come visit :)

Sara & Nathaniel

Sara said...

oppsss cant even remember my own blog :p it is www.lifewithmywildchild.blogspot.com

Sara

malleycc said...

Congratulations,
Keep up the good reading it is a lifesaver. I'm a mom to a wonderful girl 7 yrs old with down syndrome and love every day.

Tilly Cat & Pip-Squeak said...

Congratulations! We are hoping to adopt a baby with DS soon.

Don't mind the doctor... The doctors have rarely known a child with DS. Seen, maybe, many times, but rarely known. It's the parents, family and teachers that can tell you what caring for these children can REALLY be like.

(I read on a news article recently that children with DS don't "look good on paper" -but you have to get to know them.)

Anyway, I just wanted to say congratulations! Do you know if it's a boy or a girl? There are lots of blogs and wonderful forums for families with DS, if you want make your way to www.downsyn.com -hopefully I'll join you soon!

Anna

Julie said...

Congratulations Mom! I am so excited for you! I too have a three year old daughter with Down Syndrome, and when I first heard about it, I was devastated. But now, I just can't imagine life without her! She's so pretty, we're gonna have to have a shotgun around here, hee hee! But anyway, your baby is one lucky kiddo to have you as its mother! You have such a wonderful attitude, and you are already being a good mom and supporting him or her all the way. I really respect you and your courage. Good for you for not listening to that doc!
May you be blessed more than you could ever imagine!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wonderful news! Unfortunately sometimes medical science moves too fast for ethical thought. The world would NOT be a better place without people who have Down Syndrome.
In life, some interventions are barbaric and others are devine. Your discovery of this site was the devine form.
Best of luck to the proud parents to be!

Tara Marie said...

Celebrating your pregnancy and upcoming birth with you! Being a Mother is an amazing journey, in-of-itself, and this journey on the path less traveled will fill your life, your home, your being with so much incredible joy and clarity. I feel like my eyes, my heart and my soul see so much more clearer since my youngest child entered my life sporting an extra chromosome.

Congratulations!

livia-the-great said...

i often think about the positive, beautiful ways we affect each other's lives without knowing it... and, it's a gift to hear about when it happens and everyone knows it! thanks to both of you.

my heart has been opened.

tekeal

Rosemary said...

Congratulations, Mom!
My heart is so happy for you and your babe.

Michelle said...

New Mom - Congratulations! Your note to Dave was beatiful and has me feeling blessed all over again for being in this wonderful community. Our son was born 21 months ago and I didn't realize at the time the joy and love he would bring our family. I wish I would have stumbled on Dave's site when we recieved our diagnosis. Wishing you the very best in your pregnancy! Congrats on your little one.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! My daughter just happens to have Down syndrome and she is the light of our lives.
Happy Down syndrome awareness day-
3-21-08

Tera said...

Congratulations!

Jacqui said...

Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations from another reader of Chewing the Fat. May you be blessed as you celebrate new life this Easter!

Terri said...

Congratulations and welcome!

lina said...

what a wonderful way to start my Easter morning!
Congratulations to mom and siblings! I have chills as I write this- your story is a beautiful one of a new birth and a life to be celebrated! I couldn't be happier for your gift from God (when I was pregnant with baby #3 and bit overwhelmed my mom told me all children are gifts from God - and with three teenagers in the house - I still firmly believe this!)
Congratulations once again!

Gün Osborn said...

Congratulations, your new baby will be a source of joy and a few tears as much as any other baby. Enjoy your pegnancy.

Loves

Guen

Big Noise said...

Once again I am reminded of the power of our words. I'm filled with pride about Dave's impact on the world and with joy for another loved and wanted child entering our universe.
Kisses all around!
Cilla
AKA Big Noise

e said...

OMG!! CONGRATS!! YOU are in for the BEST LIFE you could have ever imagined!!

I'm e...mom to molly kate, and i have a wonderful welcome video at mollys myspace page...there are also a few hundred other moms there that you may want to meet.

myspace.com/downsyndrome_awareness

I was blessed with a late in life pregnancy, and as a matter of preparedness had an amnio.

I do understand the initial devistation...of COURSE you need a little time to grieve for the child you're NOT going to get...but

then i ran into all these moms...jeez they were SO great...so my grief was short-lived.

Molly Kate is now 7 years old, attends typical school, and CRACKS ME UP with her antics. She's a little slow with the speech, but doubly enhanced in love, humor, wit, and ONERYNESS!

come and be with us, and let me hook you up. the WHOLE family will come around as soon as they meet your precious baby.

CONGRATULATIONS!!

You are not only about to be parents, but you are starting a trip which will make you better humans...better citizens...better people!!

ENJOY EVERY SECOND!

e & molly kate
http://hugyourtrooper.blogspot.com

e said...

www.myspace.com/
downsyndrome_awareness

Katja said...

Congratulations, new mom and dad! I wish you an easy, healthy pregnancy surrounded by supportive and loving people.