From D1 to T21 :the Strength in the Journey.


It was then I carried you…

I’ve heard a few times that mother’s with a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome are strong women. I’ve heard statements such as… “I don’t know if I could  be as strong”. I have been told that I am strong. I have read stories and poems of how special needs children are only given to the strong parent who can handle them and fight for them. I’m not sure these assumptions are correct… entirely.

Looking back on my life I have tried to find where I reflected strength in my life that would make me so “deserving”  as they say or handpicked for this beautiful T21 Journey…

I am (was) an athlete. 25th fastest female in the nation sophomore year of high school (55

dash), I played soccer all over the country, Olympic Development Program, private ect…I thought I was strong in both mind and body. I played Division 1 soccer for NC State University, once again I thought I was strong and able. I was a part of a whole fascinating athletic sub-culture that brought forth in me a superficial strength of character. I  was stubborn pushing aside any who doubted my abilities to follow my passion for soccer, I loved it and  then BAM.. I was dealt a dirty deal … ACL torn in my sophmore year… a few knee surgeries later (cadaver included), some physical therapy and well my career was ended. To this day I am sorry to admit it wasn’t the strength of my body that failed my but the strength of my mind… I was unable to focus on recovery, I was scared, I never dug deep, I lost my identity…I was not strong. I allowed my coaches to defeat me with their lack of support & my pride to devour me ..and I gave up.  I threw in the towel on my soccer dreams and never fully got my legs back to be able to run again. Soccer defined the earlier years of my life  and although I try not to allow my injury to define it…I have scars as a constant reminder.

I never thought my heartbreaking injury made me stronger, it became a constant reminder of my weakness in character and will…until now. What I have learned from that single experience is that when God gives me another opportunity to be a part of something again, something BIG and rewarding, no matter what is is: I am not going to quit. I will keep fighting. Lucky for Grady… I tore my ACL. Lucky for me, I get to be a part of something BIG again. T21.

For the women with the pre-natal diagnosis who toil with termination/or an uncertain future because they don’t think they can handle it or don’t think they are strong enough…. are on to something. (not the terminating part) but the lack of strength we believe we don’t possess in order  to carry forth with a special needs child. Maybe we should look at it from another angle.  I believe our strength is found in the Journey with our Children.  I am learning a whole new level of strength that I didn’t know I possessed. If I could offer up any advice to the mother who doesn’t feel strong enough: I would tell them with each past experience that you may have failed at, with each obstacle you may already or are currently enduring in your life… it may have been or be the groundwork for your strength. And when we accept God’s Plan and the extra chromosome in our life we begin a new Journey and soon…you will find your strength. If you never knew the power of your strength: deciding to keep your child is the most powerful depiction of motherly strength their is.

So if you asked me if I thought I was strong, I would tell you that I am not as strong as I would like to be, but I will be stronger tomorrow than I was today as I begin another day in my journey…

I have been looking at Dueteronomy tonight as I reflect on the Journey of life and strength when the Israelits wandered the desert for 40 years searching for the promise land.  They were thirsty, broken, living in  bouts of darkness, traveling a barren and howling waste land. They found strength in their journey, as they were faithful to the LORD. He blessed them and delivered them. He never promised the straight and narrow path.

Dueteronomy 2:7    The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Isiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I thank the Lord for showing me his way, for strengthening me when I was weak, from delivering me out of my failures and from my weakness, and for allowing me to see what a blessing he has given me in ONE extra chromosome.


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12 thoughts on “From D1 to T21 :the Strength in the Journey.

  1. Heidi says:

    It’s true. Others assume that we somehow possess some extra courage or natural strength so “God chose us” for the task. Secretly though, they always have this look of relief on their faces. I think in life in general it IS the challenging times that shape us and not the those moments when everything is going as planned (or so we think). Human muscle does not grow or strengthen when doing nothing, but when challenged and stressed. I agree, most of life would be too difficult to do without God’s help.

  2. Erin says:

    I really like this post. I guess I never really thought about it but people say to me all the time, “You are so strong.” But I don’t really look at it that way entirely. My love for my son is strong and this gives me strength. People always forget about the power of love.

  3. Carrie says:

    Love, love, love this post. It’s so true–we aren’t necessarily already “strong” when our children come to us, but that through the challenges and obstacles we overcome, we get songer and stronger. That is what life is all about–doing our best, walking by faith, going through the refiner’s fire and coming out stronger on the other side.

  4. Brenda says:

    You are so insightful..is that the word I’m looking for? maybe you can just spill your heart out in words. I have a hard time expressing my emotions and dealing with bumps in the road. I supress everything, it drives Harland nuts. He’s always like we need to talk. We are defintely opposite of the traditional gender roles in our relationship. My famous line”I don’t want to deal with this right now!!!
    Anyway, your legs look INSANE!
    And I love how you describe Grady-genetically enhanced!!! That’s awesome! ttys!

  5. Courtney B says:

    Erin, I feel that you were already strong. Both your faith in God and love for your children have helped you find and use your strength. I’ve known you many years and never saw you as weak. You were always trustworthy, loving, generous and calming. In my opinion, those are signs of a strong person. You may not always feel strong but you always have been; even in your weakest moments.

  6. Elissa says:

    Wow! Thank you. I am a new mother of a genetically enhanced little girl. 🙂 Love your entry. It is an inspiration and a gift to have found it.

  7. Libby says:

    Beautiful post Erin and thank you reminding me of these beautiful scriptures. There is no doubt that we as mother’s need His guidance and strength as we raise up all of our children – T21 or not.

  8. P says:

    If you never knew the power of your strength: deciding to keep your child is the most powerful depiction of motherly STRENGTH there is.

    —YES, ask any mom, you can do much m0re and DO. The journey of motherhood is wide and varied for ALL OF US.

    Your child is also strong enough to help teach you and show you the way, as are all the helpers you will met along the way!

    If you continue to doubt, do not for a minute doubt the love this world has for Down syndrome! There is a THIRD OPTION and it is ADOPTION. Each child in the USA has 60 to 70 families waiting to adopt I am told. Reese’s Rainbow even helps families adopt internationally to meet this demand!

  9. Ann Conway says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for being so open! I love both verses you used
    Deuteronomy 31:6 and Isiah 41:10 were a huge part of my early journey into Christianity.

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