Special Needs

If you have arrived to this blog because you have been welcomed at some point along your parenting journey to the world of special needs, then welcome. I'm glad you're here. I'm happy to have been "a click" on your path of acceptance which, might I add, is a multi-faceted path with many emotions. We are all on different places on this journey because we are all different people, embracing pain and joy, heartache and victories, love and support in different ways. I hope you find something here that may help you, even if it's just some calming photos of a welcoming beach. If not, then a friendly "God Speed" to you as you set out on your journey to find the resources that help you in your own unique way. There are many beautiful blogs and websites available on this journey--all with different purposes--and if you'd like help finding something that's a better fit for your own path, I suggest you start with the website for the national organization of the special need you're embracing. For Down syndrome, a great place to start is HERE.

If you are pregnant and recently received a diagnosis of Down syndrome or the loved one of someone who has, there is a beautiful resource available at Downsyndromepregnancy.org.  Download their free Diagnosis to Delivery book or order a bound copy here.

If you're here for this reason, I'd assume you have a loved one with special needs. I'd also assume that you hope the world accepts your loved one's differences. And because you understand what that hope is like, I ask you to accept differences in how one accepts his/her special needs journey, how one expresses his/herself on this journey, and how one walks along this path of acceptance--whether it's in long and gentle strides, short and blissful steps or maybe real fast leaps ahead and then falling back some more. I've learned there are many different ways of walking and as I may walk by some on this path, I know there may be a day when they walk faster than me or perhaps have to stop along the way to help me when I've fallen.

This blog is about our life, our family, our story...period. While the readership of this blog has grown since Nella's birth and does include some parents of special needs, I write for the same purpose I wrote when I started this blog--for our family, for my children and mostly...for me. I find much healing and growth in the process of writing to celebrate the good and recognize all the beauty in our lives. And I found much healing and growth in doing that long before we welcomed Nella. Do I have painful, sad days? You bet. While I share some of that hardship on this blog, please remember this blog is a fraction of our lives. I have a wonderful support system of friends and family as well as many wise souls that have been on this journey before me and sometimes when I hit a rough patch, I run to them, privately. And most of the time, my painful sad days have everything to do with motherhood and hardly anything to do with Down syndrome.

Do I purposely not talk about Down syndrome a lot? Yes and no.

Yes in that I believe my role in this community is to show the world that, by not focusing on Down syndrome, it allows people outside of this journey to see special needs in a different way. That we are all so much more alike than different. That Life can take center stage to whatever affliction we are facing in life, regardless of its severity. I'd hope someone very new to this journey--someone who is scared like I was, that life as you knew it is over--might find comfort here. That life moves on beautifully. This, I believe is my role. But it is one of many roles in the special needs community, and I cannot fulfill them all. Informative blogs and support discussion groups can be found elsewhere and can be very helpful to many.

And finally, no I do not purposely avoid Down syndrome because, at this point on our journey, it comes very naturally. Nella is a beautiful baby whose magic and wonder and blue almond eyes daily bewitch me into concentrated bliss. Add to that a three-year-old little sprite who consistently amazes me with her wisdom and humor and well, I can't help but forget about a diagnosis. While I know that hardships are down the road, I wouldn't walk into a hospital room to a new mother holding her sweet newborn and tell her to fuhget-about-it because it's only a matter of time before her house is a pit and her kid is screaming obscenities at her. Somewhere down inside, I'd know she's aware that sweet baby isn't little forever...and I'd trust she'll be ready and willing to handle the challenges when they come. But, when they're little and sweet...oh, happy day. Babies are to be enjoyed...and I'm enjoying. As the journey gradually progresses, I trust my mama heart will know what to do and that the deeper falling-in-love drug motherhood brings will continue to remind me just how lucky we are to have two beautiful little sisters, two caring big brothers and an incredible support system of friends and family.

While I don't discuss it here very often, I read books on special needs topics I feel are helpful, I research resources for our journey and we have a great team of professionals working with us. Nella does therapy every week, we are learning lots of new things we can do with her, we see specialists regularly and yes, we have added concerns. Today, Nella is a healthy and happy baby. Today, Lainey is a healthy and happy toddler. Today, Austyn & Brandyn are thriving teens who love their sisters. Today, we are blessed.

Blessings on your journey!