Before Rachel was born, but after DS-Day (when we knew for sure that extra chromosome indeed existed), I simultaneously wanted to know everything I could about DS, and I wanted to forget I had ever heard the words.
While standing in the “Special Needs Kids” aisle at Barnes and Noble (who knew?) and staring blankly at the books on the shelf, I finally chose one, Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents’ Guide. Underneath the title it said, “The first book that parents and family should read.” Seemed appropriate.
I start flipping through the pages – not really reading but looking desperately for anything that might help. I simply wanted a word or phrase that might help ease the despair I felt. I landed on page 43 in Chapter 2. The subtitle, “Allow Yourself to Grieve,” caught my eye. “Hardly a parent of a child with Down syndrome has not experienced these very emotions with wrenching anguish. And although you may find it impossible to believe right now, almost every one of those parents would tell you that despite the initial heartache they would choose to have their child again a thousand times over. It’s almost a sure bet that in not too many months you will be saying the same thing.”
Seriously? That was not helpful at all. It certainly couldn’t even be true. Couldn’t be. How could someone possibly say such a thing? How would anyone CHOOSE this again? Who would choose this again?
But in the midst of the anger and anguish, I overlooked the sentence that was the biggest lie. “…in not too many months you will be saying the same thing.”
It wasn’t months. It was within moments that I knew I would choose Rachel just as she is a thousand times over. That little girl captured my heart the second I saw her, and she has never let it go.