May 5, 2010

A different kind of celebration

I mentioned that one of my friends is going to be having a baby with down syndrome. She and I talked on the phone for a while yesterday. Above all else, she's a really honest woman, so our conversation ranged all through her fears, her theological dilemmas, other people's reactions, and her mixed emotions.

I'm helping to plan her baby shower. As she put it, "You only get a shower for your first kid, so this is the only one I'll ever have and I'm really ambivalent. I'm NOT excited. I'm not attached to my baby (I'm sure that will change when it's born, but it hasn't happened yet). I might cry through the whole shower, or I might be fine. Depends on the day."

I told her we'd try to think of ways to handle the shower that took the ambivalence into consideration. Other than having some time to pray for her and the baby, I don't have any bright ideas. Have any of you been in a similar situation? Known anyone who was? Any ideas for how we can acknowledge what's difficult yet still celebrate with her and bless her and her family?

10 comments:

alice said...

I remember being in a very difficult and sad situation once and my friend said that she would come be with me. Regardless if I was weeping or hysterical; I felt a lot of strength and encouragement with her at my side. So my advice would be...come, bring her gifts and let her call the shots. If she wants to cry, hug her...if she wants to laugh, acknowledge it. Don't pretend that everything is great, don't give her words of sympathy. Just listen, hug and let her call the shots...that will be a great gift and will heal and prepare her for what is to come. Alice

Lori said...

I'm in no position to say much; both my conceptions and pregnancies were easy - embarrassingly so - and my kids are, knock on wood, fine. But even then, the first few months with a new baby are a special kind of hell if you have any kind of ambivalence. I remember needing people and support more than anything, and more than I had ever needed them before. If you're in pretty good contact with the attendees, you might suggest putting together a group present - perhaps in addition to the much-needed presents of clothes, etc. - of prearranged meals, babysitting services, housecleaning services, babysitting AND one-night hotel stay for her and her husband - that kind of thing. It could be in the form of coupons or something, making it clear that you fully intend for her to call on you all for help by using them when she needs them. If there are people who can take the baby at a moment's notice, that would be another good one. Even with a 'normal' baby, you can be getting along pretty well, and one of those days comes and just knocks you on your socks. For me, it would have been wonderful to have a network of friends that I felt comfortable calling on for backup. I think it might help her feel like others have got her back and that this isn't something she has to face alone?

Aimee said...

Yeah, I've been there. Alice and Lori had some great points. Meal prep and practical help will be huge once baby is here. But she needs to enjoy this time, too.

It might be easier to talk via email. I dunno, I just feel like I'd fill up your comment section. :-) Please email me at wvgurl at yahoo dot com. I could even email you my phone number.

Anonymous said...

In my prenatal blood test there were signs there could be problems, downs or another developmental problem, but I chose to not accept that. I knew part was because of my "geriatric" pregnancy. I believe that God was giving me this child because HE believes that I am/was the best mom/parent for this child and I could handle what ever would come because HE would be with me. My children do not have downs syndrome, but there is concern about Asperger with "S", but I still believe that God will be with me/us. Encourage your friend now about

For your shower I would also encourage the coupons and being there for her to talk, "adult" conversation will be very important. Aunt Country Singer

scarp said...

Umm, I'm commenting here cuz I don't know if you check comments on old posts...sorry to be off topic. But I would love a copy of Jrex's article. Tell him I say Congrats!!! And I wanted to mention that we should really make a (free!) phone date for while I am in the states...

Inkling said...

Here is a link to one of the blogs I regularly read, and she has many other links listed. She has lost two children shortly after birth, but some of her links are women who have gone through other heartaches as mamas, including birthing a baby with a disability. Perhaps one of those links could help, or you could even correspond with her. I know she and the moms she links to are willing to share their experiences or perspective with others, because they view it as ministry. Perhaps it might help. Here you go.....http://babybolte.blogspot.com/

Also, here is a video from Brian Doerksen with a song and talking about what it was like when they found out that their second son would be born with a profound disability. Perhaps it offers some hope or wisdom.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT0-vHdGwn0&feature=related

I hope that somehow, your friend can embrace this little one as a precious soul and a joy, even though this little one is going to be far different from what she has dreamt. A little girl I used to provide respite care for is now 18. She's got Downs and some deafness. She told me when I was visiting my folks that she has prayed for me all year to get better. That floored me. I haven't been a part of her life for many years, and yet she heard I was struggling with health issues and has been praying for me. To be honest, it made me look inside my heart and realize that I hadn't given her enough credit or truly understood just how much of a gift she really is. In truth, she's one very special person with many talents, even if she does learn differently and will always be more childlike than her peers.

I'll be praying for you and your friend, that you can talk about the elephant in the room during the shower and that somehow, joy will permeate the place.

Lil'Sis said...

Hey there, I have a good friend who has a daughter with DS, her blog is amazing and her daughter Lilly is amazing, my kids play with her all the time and she's just a great girl....maybe reading some of her blog will help you out with ideas etc., not sure but it's worth a shot I guess. I will keep you and your friend in my prayers.
http://cathleensherman.blogspot.com
Lots of Love,
lil'sis

Anonymous said...

Wow. Your blog friends have amazing experience, wisdom and understanding.

Truly your quest for a supportive baby shower is producing major blessings from the Lord.

You're onto something wonderful here, and it should go farther, much farther. Such wisdom needs to be known.

Recommendation: Have the people attending the shower bathe the event in prayer. Then, after the shower, write and publish a magazine article about the event, including the blogs as the gifts which helped shape it.

Note: If you do so, be sure to get permission from each blog author.

giftsofthejourney said...

Your friend might find some comfort and inspiration in blog link I provided. She had no idea her new daughter was going to be born with down syndrome and she shares the story in the link below.

She also knows how to plan a party ... and her friends and family celebrated Nella's birth like I imagine they did when their first child was born.

I promise you'll find some good things on this site for your friend.

http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html

Ericka said...

My sister-in-law has a son with DS--his birthday is today and he is nine years old. The thing that will probably be most surprising (and was for my SIL) is that her baby is sooo much like any other baby and only a little different. Also, it is good to get hooked up with the local Down Syndrome Association--they have lots of info and support for new moms.