Our journey with Down Syndrome began on the day Ingrid was born. At first we took our time learning & researching, yet grew into a more comfortable zone once we were informed that she was well in most aspects. We knew to expect bumps and troubled times as she grows, but that could be when raising any child. We thought we could handle this.
I hadn’t been able to relate to other parents of DS kids who talk of watching their babies struggle with health issues or learning difficulties. I had always prayed we would never cross that bridge. As of this week, I think I had a glimpse of the helplessness other parents feel. Our ingrid had a very tough week. After a day of vomiting and a day of crankiness, we hit a wall of extreme temperament that I’ve never seen come from this child. She screamed, growled, threw herself around, slapped herself in the face, and had this mama in tears. I felt completely lost. She isn’t verbal, so conveying how she feels wasn’t an option. I knew my baby girl was miserable, but I didn’t know what to do. I’ve always been extremely cautious of giving kids any type of medication, especially with Ingrid’s heart condition. (Which isn’t a problem to date, but her pediatric cardiologist pays close attention.) Without knowing what was causing her to act this way, I called the pediatrician. At the appointment I was told that she is healthy and it’s likely her teeth are bothering her. I assumed it wasn’t going to be an easy day, but never expected it to get worse… it did!
Her hitting, thrashing around, and growling intensified. She was borderline uncontrollable. I reached out to other parents of DS children near Ingrid’s age. Seems as though it’s not just her. Other parents have seen this behavior as well and offered wonderful suggestions on curbing her fits. At that point, I was willing to try anything.
Instead of getting upset that she’s slapping herself, we encourage clapping our hands & her’s. That brought my stress level down a notch. I felt like maybe I could handle this… because after 3 days of not knowing how to care for my child, I felt as though I was failing her. I’m her mom.. I should be the one person who can fix her bad days, dry her tears, and reassure her that everything will be okay, yet I couldn’t accomplish even that. I felt lost. This isn’t going to be the last of her bad days, we’re only just starting. No failing now. I felt like I now could empathize with other parents.
Having a special needs child is an amazing feeling. She teaches me so much every day. Her radiant smile and loving heart are obvious to everyone that encounters her. I beam of pride when strangers recognize what we already know… she’s beautiful inside and out.
Moments of feeling lost are just a stepping stone in our lives as parents. This week has taught me to be patient and understanding, and to allow others to help. Without the help of my husband and my parents, I couldn’t have made it through. All of the helping hands have been much appreciated. It’s refreshing to know our journey consists of a fantastic support system.
Thanks John, Mom, and Dad.
I love you all for everything you’ve done!