Dearest Beloved Friends,
I want you to meet Emerson and her mom, Veronica.
I went to the hospital to meet her after a social worker called telling me this little girl had been born.
What I didn’t know about her story was that Veronica had a very hard time when she was prenatally diagnosed. She struggled powerfully. She felt angry, frightened and discouraged. But what she didn’t know is that all of those feelings are normal.
When I went to visit her I truly felt the powerful feeling of love in that room. I always say a little prayer hoping that I’ll do the right thing when I visit new parents.
I call it my “Mom Magic” but truthfully it’s just one mother speaking heart-to-heart to another about what is real.
I smooched on her beautiful angel baby and I gave her one of our beautiful new parent packages that has books, DVDs and all sorts of information about the blessings of having a child with Down syndrome.
I showed her pictures of David as he grew up. I shared my experience about having David and how I also felt many of those same feelings and that it was okay. I knew she would learn what I did, that her little one having Down syndrome will become one of the greatest blessings of her life.
Recently Veronica sent me an email, which she gave permission to share with you.
Thank you so much for coming to see us and spreading your love to our family! You are such a beautiful person. I will never forget that day at the hospital for years to come.
Your positivity is infectious and I’m glad we met you then, because that was the perfect time in our “processing” of things.
Although we are over the initial shock and devastation of her diagnosis, it is still hard to comprehend what my/our future looks like. I am a very passionate person (to a fault) about a lot of things and have a lot of life goals and ultimately felt hindered by the news at first and drowned out by the thought of being a care taker for the rest of my life.
I’ll admit I still fear that because I still want to accomplish so much in my life.
It was hard finding out the news months ago because all throughout this entire pregnancy, I’ll admit I felt zero connection with her, I didn’t want her, I didn’t feel love for her, I didn’t really want to feel at all. I went to dr appt after dr appt every week for months knowing each nurse, each dr knew her diagnosis and didn’t want to make eye contact with me. I just felt angry and bitter and I continued to harbor those feelings deep down and not face them at all.
Every ultra sound (which I had twice a week) would show her face, hands etc and every tech would print out pictures for me and I would just throw them away. I even thought about adoption. It was like being forced into an impossible situation where my faith clashed with my own wants and needs. Every dr visit to see the cardiologist, I would just either be angry or emotionless. All or nothing.
Even up until my delivery with her, I was so worried I wouldn’t love her even when she came out I was mentally preparing myself to have the baby blues. We hadn’t had an amniocentesis done, but I knew from the blood test, and I knew that was the fate Heavenly Father had for me.
I will never forget the face of one of the nurses that was watching me when they told me it looked like she had DS right after she was born – it’s like she was reveling in my reaction to news I had already known and it made me angry and even more distant from this baby. In hindsight, I’m thankful for her stay in the NICU, because it took that much time of me going down to see her everyday from my hospital room and our own home to fall madly in love with her. Seeing all those moms with babies in worse condition than mine, watching them sit by their NICU cribs helpless, and knowing I would soon take my daughter home gave me perspective.
I love my little Emerson now, and I’m sad it took me an entire pregnancy to get to this point. Alas I am here and she is doing well, that’s more than enough to be thankful for.
Again, thank you so much for your visit. I hope to see you again soon. I now see the emotion I hadn’t known and had been missing out on – happiness! I am not scared anymore, maybe just a little. I want people to know this isn’t the worse news possible, and that I’ll be fine, and that our family will be fine, and my other baby Atticus will be a better person because of his sister, and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed because of her, and that she has already brought such warmth to my heart, and kindness from others – it is overwhelming!
Thank you for starting your non profit. Thank you 🙂
- Hospital visits to new parents of babies with Down syndrome to give them a big huge helping of love and encouragement as well as a new parent packet to help them learn about their new wonderful baby.
- Monthly parent meetings on educational topics such as Sign Language, Special Needs Planning, Potty Training, and more.
- Social events such as our upcoming Breakfast with Santa and our Easter party.
- Adoption assistance
Gina Johnson (AKA David’s Mom) xoxoxoxo