Joel’s Gift to Ethan – Motherhood After Loss
by Chrissy Storr
My six-month-old son was squirming restlessly so I scooped him up off the bed. His blue gray eyes looked curiously around the room and came to rest on a photo hanging on the wall. It was of a baby, with his little hand grasping my finger. He had never noticed it before so he stared at it. “That’s Joel,” I told him. Ethan turned and gazed at me. I felt the need to explain further. “That’s, well, that’s your older brother. He was my world, just like you are. I loved him when you weren’t even thought of. Actually, had he lived we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation – because honestly you probably wouldn’t be here.” He glanced at the photo once more and then went back to his normal little activities, which included grabbing at everything in sight while speaking baby gibberish.
Welcome to Paradise
by Sarah Grandfield-Connors
There is a short essay called “Welcome to Holland” which is meant to comfort a parent who has recently received information that their child has some type of developmental disability. The premise is that you have booked a trip to Italy, but your plane was re-routed to Holland. You miss the idea of Italy, the culture of Italy may always be a mystery with its own language and art — but Holland is stunning itself. Beautiful but different.
When we first understood that things with Beatrix may not go well someone sent me this essay. It was welcome as an affirmation of the life I was embarking on — the life I assumed included a child with Down Syndrome — because whenever there’s a problem in pregnancy, that’s the “worst” that could happen, right?
(Disclaimer here — I was excited about the possibility… there was a not so tiny part of me that was thrilled that I would be given the opportunity to mother a baby with exceptional chromosomes. I do not see a baby with Down Syndrome as a negative. It’s just the first thing that people imagine when they learn that their baby is going to be atypical.)