Motherhood, that is...
I knew I wanted to be a mommy since I was at least 7 yrs old. I loved helping to take care of my younger brother. When my older brother left elementary school for middle school, it left me in charge and I was so proud of that!. I started babysitting at 9 yrs old (with mom home) and had my very first official babysitting job when I turned 12 yrs old. Actually, I had TWO of them. I watched 2 little kids, who lived down the street from our house, after school each day and I babysat 2 little ones on the weekends. I LOVED being the caregiver. I couldn't wait to have kids of my own someday (when I was old enough of course!!).
When I imagined what motherhood would be like, I imagined myself and my child singing and dancing together. Reading stories together. Me teaching my baby the alphabet and how to count to 10 in both english and spanish. Going to the park. Weekend trips to the zoo, maybe even on the public transportation bus like me and my grandmother used to do. Going to playgroups. Fieldtrips. Days filled with laughter and smiles.
Jayden and I have done ALL OF THE ABOVE. However, every single one of those things have proven to be difficult for him, and in turn, for me. He doesn't enjoy being sang to. He's finally to a point where I can read a really short story to him, but only on certain days and those days are few and far in between. I did teach my baby the alphabet...he forgot them...he regressed. That definitely wasn't a part of my fantasy. It's hard to go to parks anymore b/c he cannot tolerate the sun, even if it's cold out. The zoo is just a sensory overload nightmare for him. We gave up on playgroups b/c he never fit in and the local playgroup here definitely wasn't as understanding to his behaviors as our beloved playgroup back in MS. We avoid fieldtrips for the same reason we have to avoid the zoo...sensory overload. We DEFINITELY have days filled with laughter and smiles, but we also have our fair share of days filled with sadness, fear, tears and dispair :( That certainly wasn't a part of my childhood fantasy.
Am I sad that it's not exactly the way I expected it to be? Yes.
Would I change anything if I could? Heck yeah! I'd give anything to end my baby's suffering and constant struggle to try and fit in to a world where things just make no sense to him.
Am I envious of the parents who paint this perfect picture of what motherhood in their home is like? Yes, I do. Facebook makes this incredibly hard for me b/c I have several mom friends who brag and boast on how wonderful their kids are. On bad days, this hurts the most.
Am I angry at God for putting us in this situation, after years of battling infertility and praying for a child? No.
Actually, I am grateful. The devil clouds my mind at times and I often catch myself thinking, "Why me Lord?" "Why us?" Then I am reminded that He chose us because we CAN. I wanted a picture perfect motherhood. Jayden needed two strong, devoted parents. God had a plan. It didn't match my fantasy at all. But He knows us better than we know ourselves. Had you asked me, before I became a parent, what I would do if I found out that my child had celiac disease, a chromosome deletion, epilepsy, autistic behaviors, and a host of sensory issues I would have said "There is no way in HELL I could handle that! I just couldn't do it." Heck, you would have lost me at Celiac disease b/c before Jayden, anything that ended with disease was just too much for me to handle.
As I sit here in this hospital tonight, watching my little boy with electrodes protruding from his head while he sits in the hospital bed playing with his action figures, I think of how far I've come. I went from fantasizing about running through fields playing catch, smiling ear to ear, to not even flinching when I tell someone that my child has a disease. Or that he's lethargic and clammy b/c he just had a seizure. Or that he cannot hold a conversation with them just yet b/c he is delayed due to a genetic disorder. It's my life. And I am handling it, even though I would have never believed I could handle something of this extent. Don't be fooled. I have my fair share of bad days. Some days I stay in bed and cry all day. Several nights I don't sleep a wink b/c I'm too busy worrying about my baby's future. Some days I raise my voice more than I'd like to. Many days, I worry too much about what other people think. But in the end, I am succeeding at one thing, and that's being a good mommy to him no matter what.
Sometimes I think to myself "What if motherhood would have been exactly as I'd imagined it to be?", then I realize just how ignorant I would be. I wouldn't understand why any one would want a break from their child. I'd continue to judge those parents in WalMart whose kids pitch fits over the simplest things. I wouldn't have a clue about sensory needs (most kids DO have sensory issues and many parents just overlook them b/c they have no idea). Had motherhood been exactly what I'd imagined it to be, I would take a lot of days with Jayden for granted. Jayden has taught us to celebrate EVERDAY. Not just once a year. We celebrate every single day. We celebrate the smallest of victories like remembering one of those alphabets that he forgot. Or finally being able to CLEARLY say a word that he'd been struggling with. We even celebrate him pointing to a picture and using a sentence to tell what's going on in that picture. At 4 yrs old, people don't understand why we get so excited about things like that but that's their loss. Something they take for granted b/c they have yet to meet a child like our Jayden. What he has taught us is worth more than any perfect picture of motherhood. But there is one thing about my fantasized motherhood that is exactly how I imagined it and maybe even more...just how much he has filled my heart with love. And my UNCONDITIONAL love for him! Thank you, God, for trusting me with one of your most prized angels!!
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