Mommy Lesson 251: Buzz Buzz Chirp Chirp

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f91/28537376/files/2014/12/img_3002-0.jpg
The average family in the United States has 2.16 children. While it may be difficult to determine just how one would get .16th of a child, it’s not much of a stretch to say that a large number of children have siblings and almost every child will encounter at least one pregnant woman during their lives. Inevitably the visual of a woman’s swollen belly will provoke certain questions.

These questions might include; what’s in there? How does it come out? They might even ask; does that man have a baby in his tummy? While the majority of these questions are fairly easy to answer, one day your child will ask THE dreaded question; how did it get in there?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f91/28537376/files/2014/12/img_3003.jpg

Earlier today the kids and I were driving down the road. Ever curious, Abigail began questioning me about where we were going. I told her that we were headed to a baby shower. She wasn’t sure what that meant, so I elaborated a little further. “Umm, you remember when baby brother was in Mommies tummy and we had a big party for him while he was in there? That’s what we’re doing for the little baby in Shannon’s tummy”. Instead of further questions, she requested a cookie. Being before dinner I told her no, which led her to sit pouting in her car seat. After close to 10 minutes of silent contemplation Abi piped up with “Mommy, how did the baby get in her tummy?”

My fingers clenched the steering wheel and I felt the car serve sharply to the right. I started to stammer, stalling for time. As a mother of two, I am well aware of how they got in there. With my background as a labor and delivery nurse I am capable of remaining calm during high stress situations, yet my palms were beginning to sweat, my heart was racing and I could feel my cheeks getting red and warm. I quickly thought of and rejected several explanations inside my head and glanced into the rear view mirror. Abi sat looking at me, patiently awaiting an answer.

I licked my lips, trying to draw some moisture into my mouth, and took a big breath in, here goes nothing. “Um, well, Abs, um….”. My eyes darted frantically around the inside of the car, know my inquisitive daughter would not accept “they just do” as an answer. After what seemed like a millennium I found the answer, “Hey, Abi? You want a cookie?”

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f91/28537376/files/2014/12/img_3005-0.jpg

Sometimes distraction is the best answer. Abi happily chewed her cookie and watched the scenery go by. Swallowing the last bite she glanced up and repeated her question, “But how do they get in there?”. Obviously another cookie was not the answer, I quickly calculated my additional options and settled on avoidance, “Hey, you know what? Why don’t you ask your daddy when he comes home?

Follow Hand Me Downs via

Facebook or Twitter

 

You Don’t Have To Be Brave, You Just Have To Be Mommy

The word Down syndrome first came into our world a little over two and a half years ago. In “I Didn’t Want Him“, I shared my initial reaction at finding out that the baby boy I was carrying would be born with Down syndrome. I know that everyone copes in different ways; some do it better than others. I did the best I could but, despite my best attempts at appearing brave and nonchalant when it came to the number of my sons chromosomes, there were times that my facade failed. One particular event occurred while I was at work, during the last few weeks of my pregnancy.

image

I had been caring for a wonderful family, who was welcoming a new baby into the world. The mom had shared with me her experiences with her young son who had Down syndrome. He was three, and she considered him to be the best thing that had ever happened to her. She eagerly introduced me to him when he arrived to meet his new sibling. I wanted to love her child as much as she did, but all I could see were his almond shaped eyes, his chubby fingers, wobbly walk and ungraceful attempts at signing “hi” and “baby”. I could feel my heart begin to pound and my breaths becoming shorter and more frantic. I excused myself and quickly made my way to the private bathroom on our unit. I murmured to my charge nurse that I would be back and asked her to keep an eye on my patient.

I barely made it to the bathroom before the dam broke and the tears flooded out. I sat on the floor, hyperventilating and sobbing. This was not a brave moment for me and my resolve was crumbling as every single fear and worry swirled through my head. The thoughts were unending, each one bringing with it an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Can I do this? Can I be the mom that he will need me to be? Will I ever get to the place where I can tell a stranger that he is the best thing that ever happened to me? Will there come a time that I only see my son and not Down syndrome? Will the bravery that I appear to have, ever be real?

I wish that I could travel back in time to huddle there in the floor with my past self. I would take her face in my hands, look her in the eyes and tell her that all the answers were YES. Tell her that as soon as she holds that little boy in her arms, all her worry and fear would fade away. That the only thing she would see when she looked at her son for the first time would the blue eyes that his daddy gave him and the button nose that she gave him. That she would be amazed at how much he looked like his sister. That in one short minute, she would know, without a shadow of a doubt that she didn’t need to be “brave”, she just needed to be Mommy.

20140927-224622.jpg

I wish most of all, that I could tell her, the way she would feel with each of his firsts. How she would have to hide the camera to catch him turning over. How his motivation to belly creep would be a Taco Bell taco. How she would cheer when he signed “eat” and “more”. How loud she would scream, on camera, when he stood and took his first unassisted steps. How the tears would stream down her face when he looked at her and called her mommy for the first time. I didn’t get a visit from my future self that day. I did, however, put myself back together and return to my patients room. I knelt down near that sweet boy and asked if I could give him a hug, he willingly obliged. Try as I might, his mom could see through my mask of serenity, she squeezed my hand and whispered, “You’ll get there”.

I cant tell you how, because the route is different for everyone. Its possible that it will take some longer than others. There might also be days, that feelings sneak in so quickly and fiercely that they cause you to question where you are and if you will make it. Maybe you’ve made it there already, then again, maybe you haven’t. Regardless of what point the path you’re on, I want to say, YOU will get there too.

image

Follow Hand Me Downs via

Facebook or Twitter