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.
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.