“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” - Martin Luther King Jr. I saw this quote today and it got me to thinking about raising a child with Down syndrome.
During the early months after Julian was born I was so concerned about if he will have significant developmental delays in both motor and speech. I was worried that Julian couldn’t do everything the other kids can do. Worry consumed me, I cried and cried, and worried some more. I had a hard time bonding with Julian so I also felt guilt about not being a good mother to him. Going to a Postpartum Depression support group helped me greatly to realize that many moms suffer from not feeling a bond with their babies right away. That helped to normalize my feelings.
Back then, I was still in the very sad space of mourning the child I had expected and comparing Julian to a typically developing child. This is something that I needed to let go of….because I knew I would never be able to raise Julian with this type of narrow thinking. It took a long time to start to realize this and I am still working on it.
I know that I need to be truly OK with Julian taking his first steps on his own time….not knowing the many places his little feet will take him in this world.
I try not to focus on what the “end of the staircase” holds but it is a challenge still for me sometimes. I do know Julian will get there when he is ready and I am learning more and more to just take things one day/step at a time. But it is still a process….a journey.
Like my dad said in his letter to me (see post “Reflections of the Past”) about the mourning I was going through about losing the child I had expected: ”In my understanding, you don’t ask for healing in order to forget; what you can expect of healing is that there is no further hurt from that event. You have put something so firmly in the past that it no longer”spoils” the present. That is the power of healing.”
So I am still working on this healing and climbing a staircase to a “to be determined” space. I recognize that I do get to help create the future for Julian, but at the same time need to be at peace with keeping on going even though I am not being able to really see what’s at the top of those stairs.