I saw this poem of Erma Bombeck a few weeks after Joas was born. The beginning was hard for me. I grieved, because I didn’t get the child I wanted. I was angry with everybody, especially angry with myself. The person who wanted to be good at everything, who wanted to excel in everything. All I ever thought about in my life was ‘the next step’. How could I make things better, how could I achieve more? I was always planning my future.
You have a nice job. You meet a nice guy and move in together. You get married and you get pregnant. The perfect path, the perfect picture, everything was going as planned. The pregnancy went well, I felt good, we even backpacked through Asia during my pregnancy, just the two of us. The birth itself went well. But then…. The doctor said: I have to tell you that we expect that your baby has down syndrome. BAM… nothing… I went numb..
The first six months were hard for me. How could this happen to me? What is wrong with me? I did everything right. Why am I being punished? I was very very very angry. I didn’t feel a bond between me and my baby. My perfect life wasn’t perfect anymore.
But after reading the poem of Erma Bombeck, I slowly started to feel better. Slowly started to see the beautiful things. This poem really helped me through the dark days. It showed me that I was a strong woman after all. I see a lot of qualities of me in that story. Maybe I am chosen to be the mother of this beautiful child, because I can do this. I CAN DO THIS!! Yes, I am not patient. And yes I am stubborn en independent. And yes, I am selfish enough to say: I love me-time. I CAN DO THIS!!
Slowly I gained more confidence in myself. And slowly I started bonding with my babyboy. Of course, during the difficult period, I was there for Joas, daily, at the hospital. But at the same time I wasn’t there, you understand? After months of sadness en being angry, I became more calm. I started to fall in love with my little monkey. My innocent little monkey. I realized that if I couldn’t be there for him, fighting, as a mother, then who would? I am the person who carried him for nine months. I talked to him in my belly for nine months. I promised to be there for him.
It is not his fault. He didn’t ask for this. He is… just Joas. And he is MY SON!! I want to protect him, I want to comfort him when he is sad or ill. I want to hug him and make him laugh. I want to fight for him to make sure he will succeed in this hard society. I want to make sure he finds his passion. I want to make sure he will be happy!!
And indeed, we enjoy every step he takes. We don’t take things for granted.
Now I see, he makes my life more perfect. He in fact makes me, and my family, special, because he is special!
God chooses I mother for a disabled child – by Erma Bombeck
Did you ever wonder how mothers of disabled children were chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over the earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“This one gets a daughter. The Patron saint will be Cecelia”
“This one gets twins. The Patron saint will be Matthew”
“This one gets a son. The Patron saint…..give her Gerard.
He’s used to profanity” Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles.
“Give her a disabled child”.
The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel!”
“But has she patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of sorrow and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has her own world. She has to make her live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you”
God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness”
The angel gasps – “Selfishness? is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally she won’t survive. Yes here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word’. She will never consider any ‘step’ ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time she will be present at a miracle and will know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty and prejudice…and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side”
“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.
God smiles ……………”A mirror will suffice”
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