Saturday, June 23, 2012

Moms need therapy too

There are things that get me every time.  For instance, the song that Bruno Mars sings "Just the Way You Are"...I can't hear this song without breaking down in tears.  In fact, the girls and I sing it with the words changed a bit to be appropriate for our little guy.  The line that really gets me is "and when you smile, the whole worlds stops and stares for a while".  Sam's smile melts my heart, literally makes my heart ache, I love it so much.

Another thing that tugs at my heartstrings is when he does something that he's not supposed to be able to do.  Tonight, I was on the couch with him and when Kevin came and sat down next to us he said "Hey Sam, how's it going buddy?"  Right on cue, Sam started waving his arm up and down as if to say "hi dad, life is good!"  Did I cry when the girls did things like that?  I don't remember if I did or not.
I know Sam is my last baby.  I know that every first with Sam is the very last first that I'm going to experience with my children, with a baby.

This healing process is going fairly well I think.  I'm in a different place than I was the week after Sam was born, or even a month after Sam was born.  I felt nothing but sadness for the first few weeks after he was born, and as he grew and we got to know him, that sadness started melting.  Unfortunately, it's not like you "heal" completely from an experience like unexpectedly delivering a child with special needs.  Every now and then, some random thought will creep up on me and leave me in a heap on the floor crying again.  For instance, when I realized that Sam will very unlikely.  It brings back the memories of the day we found out we were having a boy and how proud we were that we would have a boy to carry on the family name.  It might end with Sam.  To think that he may never know the joy of raising children crushes me.

Or when I hear Bruno's song on the radio and he says "the whole world stops and stares for a while", how it brings back all my fear of what the world will think of Sam.  Will they give him a fair chance?  Will they judge him for something that no one had a choice about?  Will they love him like I do?  Will he always have people who believe in him and advocate for him in all he dreams of doing with his life?

There are days when I look at him and am so proud to be his mommy.  Days where I can't imagine my life without him.  Days where I see nothing but a beautiful baby boy who has so much potential, and so much to offer everyone around him.  But alway, ALWAYS in the back of my mind is that nagging reality that he was born with a disability, and that he may struggle with many things throughout his life because of it.  That thought never leaves my mind - even when all I feel is HAPPY.

With that said, thank GOD for my therapists. *smile*

No, I haven't hired a professional or anything, not yet anyway.  But David's mom provides great therapy for me.  And remember my ice cream sundae buddy?  Joe's mom provides therapy for me too.  Visiting with other moms gives me a sense of calm and normalcy in an otherwise confusing situation.  These other women help me feel normal, and ok with my emotions.  I don't feel sad very often anymore, but the hardest part right now is coping with the ups and downs of the emotions.  If I do find myself feeling sad, suddenly I'm feeling guilty for feeling sad, and then angry, all the while happy that my baby is here.  It's very confusing.  But my new friends, the other mothers, they lift me up when I'm down, and I hope I can do the same for them.  David's mom called the other night and I walked about 30 laps around our yard while chatting with her.  It's great that we can share the highs and lows with each other, express concerns to each other that other people might find nonsense.  David's mom and I are in very similar shoes right now, starting out with therapy programs and whatnot, and it's neat to exchange ideas on what our therapists and teachers are doing with the boys.  That way, I can use some of her ideas with Sam and vice versa for her with David, resulting in double the benefits of therapy!  David's mom is still very much in the emotional part of this healing process, as am I, and I love talking with her.  Kevin's always a good listener and willing to talk about things, but women understand women's feelings and thoughts slightly better.  Mother to mother, it's a special bond that I'm very grateful for.

Joe's mom came for a chat a couple weeks ago, and while I feel terrible for how I rambled on and on and barely let her get a word in edgewise, I'm grateful to her for letting me vent.  I think she's over the hardest part, because Joe is for the most part over those first scary years where health is such a major concern and now embarking on the more fun things, like preschool and all the other things a three year old boy likes to do!  We're so excited because next weekend, Joe's family is coming for supper!  We can't wait to play with them and visit some more!

We also had joined a support group from a neighboring city, and last week we attended the annual family picnic.  We met so many great kids and their families!  David and his family were there too!  One thing I did notice was that while at our table (the newcomers table :) ) we were talking all things Downs.  But when I walked around the picnic shelter and up to dish up a plate of food, the other tables were talking about things like who won the little league game, what week swimming lessons were taking place, the new restaurant in town and the weather.  What?  You mean you get to a point where the weather is more interesting than the worry of needing leg braces for walking and glasses to correct vision problems?  Seriously?  Sign me up!  One mom in this group had said to me that Down syndrome eventually fades into the background of your family and it's not so important anymore, and I'm still looking forward to that day.  Until then, I'm going to keep consulting my therapists for guidance and support, encouragement and bravery.

I also have to say, that writing this is very therapeutic for me.  Thank you for reading, and thank you for your words of encouragement and love - you are ALL essential team players - and we're always looking for more cheerleaders too so spread the word!

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