Monday, July 09, 2007

What kind of mom are you?

An article was published last weekend in the New York Times about Williams Syndrome that gets right down to the nitty gritty :

Accompanying the article online is a video of a 19-year-old girl with Williams. It fascinated me to hear her talk; to discuss her daily routine, her joys and dreams. Just as I watched the six-year-old boy with Williams in Louisville, I was mesmerized with these people whom I have an instant connection to, knowing my son may one day be like them.

Something even more interesting to me was seeing this girl's family in the video, particularly her mother. I wondered what kind of mother she was. Did she think she was the "right" kind of mother for her daughter? Did she think that she would one day have a child with special needs? There are women out there like that - I have heard people say they always "knew" they would have a special needs child. They knew they would have this "calling".

I did not have that calling. It never occurred to me I would have a child with special needs. It seemed to fall in line with the "other" parents... you know, "other" parents had sick children, "other" parents had mentally ill children, "other" parents had miscarriages, couldn't get pregnant or got divorced. As I got older, I began to notice that I knew some of these "other" parents... I know people who have sick children, who have children who have died, who have had miscarriages, couldn't get pregnant or got divorced.

I always felt I was untouchable, nothing bad could happen. Even when I took all the precautionary, telling tests you take when you're pregnant because I was told to; it never occurred to me they would come out positive. I was never worried when it came time to deliver my sons - I just thought it would be okay. I still think like that, most of the time. I think I like having that kind of attitude, it makes more things possible. However, it does throw you off a bit when you end up with something not in your "plan". And as I get older, yes, and wiser, I realize there is no "plan". You need to kind of make it up as you go along.

Am I the "right" kind of mother for Brady? Yes, because he is my child. But beyond that, I am filling in the blanks as we go along. I read about the mothers of WS kids online and I see they are not so the "other" mother as I once thought they would be. We are all so very ordinary. Does it scare the non-WS moms? It could happen to her, it could happen to me. Are we "chosen" moms?


Katie said...

Yes... the other mothers.
I guess as we grow up we start to realise that we arnt as invincible as we thought we were. Last year a close friend from highschool was killed in a car accident - i think that was the beginning of my realisation that those 'other' people are alot closer than i thought, now i have Jaiden i guess i am one of the 'other mothers' too.
But also i have new friends that are in the same situations and i realise there arnt two types of people me and the others - we are all the same, bad things happen to everyone at one time or another. I suppose its how we handle the situations we face that makes us who we are. Even the most composed of people with the seemingly 'perfect' existences have skeletons in their closets. its just life.
I guess "Unexpected Journeys", are just that.

Every minute counts.... said...

As I sit here an dwipe back the tears, what you wrote is so true. You never think it could possibily effect you it is always supposed to be someone else.
Now that I fall into the "other" mother category...I have to say the mom's in here are alot more understanding and helpful and alot less hurtful than the one's I knew before. They don't run for the hills when things get tough because they've been on a similar path before...they just try to understand and listen.

Laura said...

We just expect that our kids will be born perfect, no problems. I never thought I'd be one of the "other moms". But, I can definately say I love the company I have found in this "elite" group.

Nancy said...

I knew when I was pregnant there was something wrong...but I ignored that feeling and went right into denial. After at least two miscarriages (I am pretty sure I had 3), I knew things could go wrong and didn't want to think about it, so I was so detached that it took months after Erik was born that I felt something when I looked at him. I felt like a horrible mother, but I can see what happened now. I just turned myself off.

I feel bad for the mothers around me who look at what we have gone through and are scared to death it could happen to them. However, that's reality. We are knee deep in it. There are times I wonder why we are the ones we are steeped in it and they aren't. That's life, too.

Lisa R said...

to emotional to comment...I'll call ya XOXO

Heather said...

This may sound 'out there' But, I think we were chosen for this journey. I have way more patience than anyone I know.(not bragging here!) But I have realized that patience is a key ingredient in raising a child with WS. Whether it is waiting for the first full night of sleep, of the first steps, or answering the same question over and over, all day. I have a feeling that you other Mom's have a lot of patience too. Anyone else would have sold Caleb to the gypsy's by now:) I never thought about me with a special needs child, but now that I have one, I am so glad he chose me.

Nicole said...

Wow, Kerry. I guess I am so thankful to have all of you as my new friends and where I can come to gain strength and support. I personally don't know anyone who is in a similar situation that we are. All of my close mother friends and not so close mother friends all have seemingly typically developing kids. I am the only "other" mother. I spent some time definitely saying "why me", but really "why not me". I agree with Heather above that I have so much patience for Emerson and it grows each day. That fact that she didn't end up out on the street curb in the first 6 months of her life (before diagnosis, just non-stop crying) is a miracle in itself. Now I can't imagine life without her and I can't imagine her being any other way.

Aspen said...

I wouldn't say that I had a gut feeling I would always be this kind of mom. But from the second Daven was born, I knew something was wrong. You are an amazing mother to both of your boys! A great example for all of us.

I will be posting up a "blurb" that I found and thought it was perfect for all my blogging buddies. You will have to check it out.

Teresa & Shawn said...

You are an amazing mother, Kerry. I have seen you in action with Brady! We all have our good days and bad days, but all mothers do. I don't know if we were chosen or not. I like to think I was - Clare is such a special little girl that it makes me feel special, too!