She looked harried when I drove up to the clubhouse of her apartment complex yesterday. The heavily pregnant woman in a parka ran back and forth, trying to find the super to open the room where we were holding her baby shower, he was not to be found.
I tried to comfort her as I dialed his number, hoping that the two dozen women I had invited would find a warm room to come out of the raw January wind. Soon he appeared, opened the door, and the women, many of whom had never met this 38-year-old single mother, flooded in, bearing gifts and food. Within ten minutes the room was decorated in baby blue and festooned with balloons and flowers, and an appetizing snack table set up. The baby shower I had started in desperation to save a baby in danger was coming together at the last minute.
I met Carol five months ago, after she confided to a mutual friend that she was considering aborting her unborn baby boy because he had just be prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. She was recently divorced, battling her ex over child custody, and the baby’s father had abandoned her and found a new girlfriend.
She was being told by her doctor and every nurse she had contact with that abortion was her best option, that she was not capable of raising a little boy with an extra chromosome. In fact, Carol had had an abortion in a similar situation a few months ago and it did not improve her situation at all. She felt alone in the world and her self-confidence was at an all-time low.
Our friend introduced us to have me share my thoughts on what life has been like for me as the mother of an eleven-year-old girl with Down syndrome. We met several times at my home, where her lovely six-year-old daughter and mine began to get acquainted, and she saw with her own eyes the happy life of my Christina. Thanks to this, counseling at CareNet and Birthright, and many prayers from hundreds of my friends on Facebook, Carol chose life for her son, whom she named Elijah, and today those of us who loved her and her son were celebrating with her.
We oohed and aahed over the tiny socks, the decorative onesies, the cuddly pjs, and the array of homemade knit caps and warm quilts. We talked about the joy of mothering a newborn and Carol began to smile. She was surrounded by love and support, with many women taking her contact information and promising to visit her and baby Elijah when he was expected in less than two months. She is no longer alone in her special mothering journey.
I will take her to meet other mothers and children with Down syndrome, and attend conferences with her to help her best meet Elijah’s complex needs.
The child with Down syndrome does not need a PhD for a mother. The one thing he needs most is a mother who loves him and who feels loved herself. Thanks to an army of good-hearted women, Carol has been blessed with that gift which she can share with her new son.
Copyright 2014 Leticia Velasquez
photo credit: nicora via photopin cc