When you are in the midst of having a baby you are submerged in it, surrounded by it, you eat breathe and sleep all things baby. You dream about the little girl inside you and you think about all of the things you are going to do with her, all the pretty clothes you will dress her in. When you awake from that dream into what you believe is your life's biggest nightmare at the time, "Your daughter has Down Syndrome and will need open heart surgery." This was certainly not the dream, not the hopes, not the wishes that were had and made upon shooting stars in the night sky. This was happening to someone else, certainly not me, how could it, I am young, I did everything I was supposed to do, I did everything right. How did this happen to my little girl, how did this happen to me? Then someone sent me something, a beautiful poem. I read it and at the time didn't really think much of it, just thought it was some other way that people were trying to make me feel better, people who didn't understand.
The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of disabled children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of disabled children are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."
"Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."
Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a disabled child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."
"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps - "selfishness? is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'". She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"
"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice....and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side".
"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."
I read this again today and I cried harder than I have cried in months, I understand it now, I understand my purpose in this world, to be the best mom that I can be to both of my wonderful kids.