There’s something a little magical about a new year. It’s like somehow in between Christmas day and New Year’s day, we go to sleep and wake up feeling somewhat refreshed, ready to take on a new year, face new challenges and adventures, experience new joys. As difficult or confronting as the passing year may have been, we cross this imaginary line in the calendar and begin the new year afresh and alive with energy. I love that.
This year, I’m feeling a little more realistic than in years gone by. Rather than having a hundred things on my New Year To-do List, I’ve decided to approach this year quietly, without too much pomp and circumstance and too many grand plans. I’ve decided this year just to open my heart and hands and accept this year and all its blessings with grace, rather than expectation. Who knows what joys and sadnesses, challenges and questions, chaos and wonder the year of 2012 may hold for me, for us… I just know I need to be gracious and look for the blessings in each moment it contains. That’s not to say I don’t HAVE any plans, but most of them are going to revolve around the health and happiness of my family, making some time to remember who I am when I’m not a wife and mummy, asking for help when I need it, and surrounding ourselves with the love of our extended family and friend network.
In terms of the baby stuff, I feel like I’m learning to surrender to the almighty Rollercoaster a bit better (this week, anyway). I read an amazing book called ‘Expecting Adam‘ (thanks to my beautiful sister), which technically was about the life of author, Martha Beck, while she was pregnant with her son, Adam, who was diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome. But the story was so much more than that. I was hooked from the first page and really did very little other than read for the next 48 hours (which is probably why my house looks the way it does right now). I couldn’t do the story any justice with my description, but as one reviewer put it, “Expecting Adam is not the story of a child with Down syndrome. It is the heart-felt confession of one woman’s personal journey from fear to grace.” (www.amazon.com) It isn’t just a story for mothers of disabled children, it’s a story for every person about letting go of what we think matters and just opening our hearts. Martha Beck is an incredible writer and I would definitely recommend ‘Expecting Adam’ to anyone wanting a good read.
Between my latest ‘good read’ and a few other sources, I think I’ve started letting go of my expectations about this baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that so much of the fear and sadness is caught up in the unknowns – of how this child will develop, how he/she will be treated, what he/she will become… It’s not to say I don’t still have those fears, but I need to give our Littlest Love the opportunity to arrive into our world and our family without all the expectations that the label ‘Down syndrome’ can come with and just love him, unconditionally, and see how his life unfolds. Just as I do my other two children who didn’t come pre-labelled. I feel as though we will have both joys and frustrations with all our children throughout their lives, regardless of their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and that they will each teach us many lessons.
At 3 and a half, Sam is old enough to understand much more about babies than when I was pregnant with Charlie. Sam is in hysterics when he feels the baby’s wriggles and limbs with his hand on my belly, and stops me at least a hundred times a day to ask if he can ‘feel the baby’ or to kiss and cuddle and talk to my belly. It may not always be convenient, but it’s lovely to watch this love affair with our new baby develop before our baby has even arrived. And right now, Sam doesn’t know what Down syndrome is – he just knows that pretty soon we’ll have a new baby in our family to love, and I’ve no doubt he’ll love this baby with all the energy he can muster when it does arrive. Every day Sam teaches me lessons about unconditional love, and I feel like I have so much to learn.
It’s amazing to think that I’m now 30 weeks pregnant and there’s only about 10 weeks to go. Eeek. Regardless of having babies with enhanced chromosomes, just having three kids under four is enough to terrify us! I’m sure we’ll get through it, just as we did when we went from a family of three to a family of four… it’s just how much sleep and sanity we may lose in the process. I really need to get my butt in gear and do more organising, sorting and nesting… just need to fit that in somewhere between sleep (which rates pretty highly in my books) and the two small, very energetic boys in my life. Maybe I do need to write that task list…