Friday, March 21, 2014

Do You Love Him? | On Mothering a Son with Down Syndrome

"I've never met Natalie in person, but we know each other through the grapevines of our small(ish) home town. It was her unique eye for photography that initially captured my attention. And then I read her story. And I kept reading. And reading. And couldn't stop. You'll see why." -JM 
There is something that pierces my soul. It stares me in the eyes and I am forced to remember. Four years ago I learned something that I would never forget. Something I can't be quiet about until my breath is gone. 
But first, look at him—my son...
Some things are more comfortable kept quiet. Kept secret. Some things hurt too much to talk about, or even think about…but maybe, just maybe, you will read this in secret. 
Sometimes we don't understand why hard things happen to us. Or why a baby like my son is given to us. For every ten women who find out they're having a baby with Down syndrome, only one of them continues with their pregnancy. When I first read that Elias was the only one of ten to be born, my heart and soul ached. Four years later the aching hasn't stopped, it hasn't gone away. It has become worse. 
Like a mother who tries to articulate the beauty of that moment she holds her newborn and looks into his eyes for the first time, how could I ever explain to you how much I love my son?
"Do you love him?" she asked me. The fear of the unknown was shaking in her voice as we talked over the phone. She was desperate to know if I loved Elias, and if she could ever love her unborn son with Down syndrome.
How can I tell you what my heart feels when I lay down with him in his bed, and he sings and puts his hand on my face? Or what wonderful thoughts go through my mind when he sees his daddy and yells, "Daddy!" and with everything in his little body he gives his best hug? And the joy I feel when I see him wrestle with his brother and belly laugh with his sister. I wish you could know for a moment the depth of love I have for my son.
There is right and there is wrong. Life is always right. If God has created breath, they are meant to breathe. The inhale and the exhale, the beating—they don't want to stop. They want to breath, they want to beat.
I watch his chest rise and fall. I put my face next to his and feel his breath. My hand is resting on his heart. He knows what so many babies should know; but they don't, and they never will.
There is something that pierces my soul. Something that stares me in the eyes every day. Every day I'm reminded: those who God has given life to are meant to live. (Click to tweet

I am one mom out of ten that knows the joy and beauty of having a child with Down syndrome. And I can tell you, my life is full. I love my son and I would not change him or choose a different life.
You can read more about our first days with Elias.
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My favorite posts from Natalie // Unexpected LoveWhy Do You Write?I Forgive You, Mom
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