Motherhood

The Promise of His Word

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By:  Nicole Espino

I remember it so clearly as if it wasn’t almost nine years ago. I had just experienced the quickest and easiest delivery, my doctor was even surprised by how effortless it was. I was so thankful because I had just endured a very painful and long pregnancy due to pelvic issues. But there I was holding my sweet baby boy, the joy that filled my heart was almost too much to contain. There is nothing like that moment they lay that sweet baby on your chest and you breath in their precious baby scent for the very first time. New life, new breath, new beginnings filled my heart. There is so much hope and so many dreams we have for our children. What did God have in store for this precious new life.

I don’t think we are ever fully prepared for the hurdles though that come our way, especially in the joyful moments. This hurdle for my family in particular came in the form of a failed hearing scan. When we learned of my sons hearing loss, so many questions and fears filled my heart and mind. What did I do during my pregnancy to cause this, how severe is his hearing loss, will he be able to talk, will he live a normal life? The questions swirled inside for months as we went down the long road of tests and doctor’s appointments. It was not what I had envisioned for our little family. All those previous hopes and dreams turn into questions and fears. It’s only natural when you are faced with an unexpected turn of events. Included with the hearing loss were all sorts of developmental delays and at 2 years old we discovered that our precious boy had Autism as well. I was in denial at first, I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew that if my son was going to have any chance that we had to get him the services he needed.

But even though our journey with my second son has had its ups and downs, he has brought so much joy and change into my life, I am a better mother because of him. God’s promise found in Romans 8:28 says:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This has proven true over and over again. The one thing these hurdles have done in my life is caused me to run to Him for strength, wisdom, and grace in times of personal weakness.

So here I sit, almost 9 years later, pregnant with my 3rd child. And the funny thing is about painful memories from the past is that they have a way a resurfacing. To be honest, as excited as we are to have our first baby girl, my heart has been wrestling with fear, doubt, and anxiety. What should be a joyous time has become a time of fearing the future all over again. Will she be healthy, will I be healthy, how am I going to handle three kids??

I’m sure you are all too familiar with the mind games the enemy plays with us women. But then I remember all the ways God held me and took care of me and my children, and I choose to trust God. It’s not easy sometimes, but He reaches out to me in my pit and gently whispers His fatherly words, “I love you! I’ve got this in the palm of my hand!”

I’m so thankful for those times of breakthrough, I wish I allowed Him to comfort me sooner, I wish I wouldn’t spend weeks agonizing, but God is so long suffering. No matter the outcome, God is big enough, strong enough, and fully capable of holding my world together. If He can hold our universe together, then He can certainly handle anything that comes my way.

My prayer for us Moms this new year is that we would cling to Him in the good times and the bad. That we would run to Him for everything, and that we would see how He is working all things out for our good, to change us, to mold us and to make us better wives and moms. God’s word is full of His promises, comfort, and encouragement. I want to commit to allowing His word to wash me from all my fears, no matter what happens, God is in control! And He is a good good Father!

Motherhood

What It Should Have Said

By:  Sherry Clair

I was cleaning out my closet today; sorting through old clothes, photographs, boxes of odds-n-ends. The kids were happily running around the house playing with each other and being about as loud as a herd of elephants wearing microphones. They came running into the closet, scampered around the mess for a moment or two and then turned to run out. Gabe bumped into the chair that I was perched upon on his way by I had to let go of the box I was holding to steady myself. I reached down to pick up the papers that had been scattered and stopped.
I recognized it instantly. It was creased and wrinkled. There was a spaghetti sauce stain on the corner of it and ink smears where my tears had fallen onto the paper. I opened it up, smoothed it out and took a deep breath. I knew what it said, I had read it enough times that I practically had it memorized. It was given to me tucked inside a manila folder and placed in a binder alongside pamphlets and informational flyers. It was a life changing paper, one that altered the course of my family’s lives.

It said, 47, XY, +21, abnormal karyotype. Analysis shows three copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) in each metaphase cell examined consistent with the clinical diagnosis of Down syndrome.
It said, common manifestations include mental retardation, cardiac abnormalities, small stature, gastrointestinal complications, hearing and/or visual disorders and hypotonia. Social development is typically more advanced than intellectual development.
It said, there is a greater than 30% risk for fetal loss in the second half of pregnancy.
It said that there is an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities in subsequent conceptions.
It said to me that my child, my son, was abnormal on a cellular level. That he would face physical and intellectual challenges. That there was a chance that I would not get to meet him. And it said that it could happen again.

It said to me that life as I knew it was over, the child I had dreamed of was gone.
It said things that made me not just cry, but sob uncontrollably. Things that made me go through the next several weeks worrying about the safety and well being of the baby growing within. Things that painted a drab and dreary future of abnormalities and complications. Oh how wrong was that paper.
What it should have said was; we have completed your testing. You are having a baby boy. His cells are more unique than most of the ones we see. Inside of each and every one of those microscopic discs is an extra twenty first chromosome. While the addition of this extra chromosome may make it more difficult for him to do all the things that children without Down syndrome do, it does not mean that he can’t. It does mean that he will find his own way to do them and he may do them at different times than children lacking this extra chromosome.

What it should have said was; While this little extra piece may seem daunting and overwhelming, included within it are some amazing things! There is a laugh that is contagious, it can fill a room and make even the most somber smile and chuckle. There is a determination that will sometimes test the limits of even the most steadfast parents. But that determination will be used to accomplish many things! There is an infectious joy that passes from this one little person to all those around them. There are hugs and cuddles and kisses and snuggles that are absolutely unbeatable.

What is should have said was: There are lessons tucked away inside that additional twenty first chromosome. These lessons are best taught by the little one who carry them. Lessons on acceptance, unconditional love, empathy, compassion and selflessness. Lessons that makes us view the world around us in a completely different light. Lessons that makes us stronger as parents. Lessons that remind us not to rush and to take time to enjoy the little things in life. Lessons that accumulate to make those around this little being, just a little bit better.

What is should have said was: Inside of this chromosome there is an extra dose of resilience and drive, humor and personality, understanding and patience. There is strength, forgiveness, steadfastness and even temper! There is sweetness, fierceness, willfulness, and stubbornness. There is rhythm and dancing, silly songs and imagination. There is intelligence and brilliance, ability and accomplishments.
What it should have said was: This chromosome’s effects are not just isolated to the one whose cells contain it. It will impact and touch all those who encounter this child. Hearts will be softened, perceptions altered and lives changed by this sweet boy. It will change you. You will learn more about yourself than you knew before. You will be an advocate, a voice. You will find a strength that you didn’t know existed, a boldness that may even surprise you.

What it should have said was: With this information may come a feeling of fear, worry, anger, disappointment, uncertainty or even guilt. Those feelings are normal, it can be challenging to imagine what life will be like caring for a little one with so much extra inside of them. Take some time and be patient with yourself. Remember that the baby you are carrying is still the same baby; you are just one of the lucky ones whose child contains a little extra amazing.
What it should have said was: Congratulations, it’s a boy!

Read more from Sherry at her website https://chroniclesofmommy.net/