To The Mother Who Is Unsure About Keeping Her Baby With Down Syndrome

I wish you could have laid down next to him as he fell asleep last night. He was smiling at me until his mouth was too tired. His eyes looked into mine, opening and closing slowly until he gave into a world of sweet dreams. I loved that moment with him. I thought about how awful it would be if I didn't have him in my life…and then I thought of you. I thought about how I would give you this moment if you would take it. I would let you enjoy the deep joy moments that I get to know as Elias' mom. It would be hard for me to give up, but I would let you be me for a day. I would let you know something beyond the facts and books. I would let you in to the deep secrets that only a mother could know…far beyond what a doctor or geneticist could tell you. If I could, I would give you understanding that would change your life. 

“But I'm not like you,” you tell me. “I’m not the kind of mom that would be good for a child with Down syndrome. I couldn't give him what he needs.” I laugh to myself, I've heard this so many times. You know what? I have days when I'm frustrated. Days when I wish my son was different. Days I want to run. But I have those days with my typical children too. You might think I'm brave. You may think there is something special about me, but having a son with Down syndrome is one of the hardest things in my life. I don't have time like I would if he was typical. I miss out on things that other moms get to do because he is not typical. I worry. I cry just thinking about the day someone calls my son retarded for the first time. I get scared when I can't find him and have to run down the street looking for him, begging to God to spare his life! The lingering what if's about his health are a constant battle for me. Some days I feel as though there is nothing left of me. I am drained physically and emotionally, I have given it all to Elias.

There is more to this story, though. There is more to life with my son. If I could let you feel the deep love in my soul, it would change your mind in a single moment. But I can't do that. There are no words, pictures, or videos that could even begin to let you in on the life I have with Elias. There is only one way to find out—to continue on! Don't let fear rob you of joy. 

If I could give you little piece of my heart that I have for my son, I would. It would be hard to give it up, but I would give it to you. I would let you take my place and know the belly laughter that brings tears to my eyes when I'm supposed to be putting Elias to bed. I would let you feel his gentle hands as he holds my face and says, "Mom, I wuv you." I would let you read him a book, you would be amazed at his enthusiasm. You would want to read ten more! 

If you begged me, I would let you take my place and buy him a hamburger and fries. Your heart would be overjoyed at how much he loves the simplest things in life, and before you know it, you would start to fall in love with the way his mind works. Like me, you would long to be a little more like him. 

My life does not come without sacrifice, I know that. I'm not trying to hide anything, or make you think it's all hearts and rainbows with Elias. You can find the facts you want and talk to the people who will give you the answers you want…but remember that there is more. And if you want more, it will not come from only information. It will be a step of faith. You will never have to live with the thought, "What if I chose to keep my baby with Down syndrome?” You would know things that only a mother like me knows. But you’d have to continue the journey, embracing the unknown one day at a time. I am on the most fulfilling journey. I would not have chosen it for myself, but when it was placed in front of me, by God's grace I continued on. He gave me faith to keep walking.

If I could let you take my place for the day I would. It would be hard to give up, but I would do it for you.

When I Forget To Breathe

I remember the sweet lady that brought me comfort food in the quiet hours of my second miscarriage. I told her how I wanted to trust God with a new pregnancy but I felt like I might set myself up for failure. I felt safe with her. She knew my pain well and I didn't worry about her judging me. She placed the chocolate cake on the counter and said with a soft and honest voice, "Your pregnancies will never be the same once you've gone through a miscarriage." I knew she was right and I appreciated her honesty. It was comforting to know that my struggle was a common one. I wouldn't walk this journey alone. I didn't have to feel ashamed, but I could walk alongside others.

As I wait to feel the first movements of this baby, my mind wanders. I find myself forgetting I'm pregnant and then wondering if I really am. A doctor visit scheduled two weeks away seems too long to wait for the comforting sound of a beating heart. I hold my breath for the heart beat. Some days I have to remind myself to breathe. 

Grace is the sweet moment you never expect but turns up to get you through a day, an appointment, a reality you never, ever dreamed for yourself.
— Kara Tippetts

My mornings have been filled with God's word. I feel desperate for truth and God's faithfulness. The days I feel no movement and I can't hear a heartbeat, he helps me to breathe. My wandering mind needs the constant reminder of a steady path, guidance that no one else can give. 

How sweet are the days of dependancy. The gripping reminder that I have no control. But God carries me, because I am weak and I cannot carry myself. I cannot breath on my own. 

The lady who brought me chocolate cake and told me my pregnancies would never be the same again, she was right. Painfully right. But it is the pain that has drawn me into the presence of God. In my frailty I have known beautiful strength. In the most bitter of days I have been given incredible peace. 

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
— Psalm 9:9-10

Candles With A Purpose

I love when people are passionate about making things. Even more, I love when they want to help others with their passion. 

My friends make candles. They also love people with Down syndrome! This month they are supporting Down syndrome awareness month by giving $5 to Reece's Rainbow for every candle purchased. Their candles are made with 100% soy wax and burn with wood, not cotton. It even crackles like a real wood fire!

Down syndrome also hits close to home with my friends, this is Jack, John Barry's little brother…and they love him to pieces. 

Check out Third Bear Candles, and buy a delicious scented candle in honor of Down syndrome awareness month!

© 2014 Natalie Falls