Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bonding

I can't tell you how relieved I was when a mother of four grown boys and grandmother of many told me it always took her at least three months after each of her boys was born to feel like a normal person again. Calvin was about 2 months at the time, and I was just beginning to feel like 'I can do this.' The first few weeks were tough. Many factors contributed of course: hormones, sleep deprivation, the huge physical demand of caring for a pre-walking toddler and a completely dependent infant... But there was one factor I had not counted on: having a non-special needs baby.

Charlie was our first baby. We really did not see what the big deal was about him having Down Syndrome. I mean heck, he was not all that different than other babies. Maybe he was a bit slower to do things, but he was by far the cutest kid around! (am I a little biased?) I think in many ways our lack of experience with typically developing babies helped us to move on after learning that Charlie has Down Syndrome. We did not have the burden of comparing him to an older sibling.

When Calvin was born, all of a sudden I began to see some difference in Charlie. I remember Ray and I would make remarks like "Charlie never did that," or "Can you believe Calvin is already communicating so clearly." Perhaps every mother goes through the pain of having to re-define her relationship with her first born when another sibling comes along. I did, but I also found myself having to reorient myself with Down Syndrome. It was like all of a sudden I saw what the big deal was, and I had to re-decide that I was ok with it. I wrestled with this a lot.

Calvin is nearly 4 months old now, and I feel like we've really found our groove. I feel a deep bond and understanding with my sweet baby boy. I feel like Charlie and I have once again fallen in step with each other. And last, I feel okay with Down Syndrome again. I think my patience has grown for Charlie. Having Calvin has illuminated his struggle and determination. I am not only okay with Down Syndrome, but newly amazed. You know, God did not make a mistake when he diverted that extra 21st chromosome toward the cell that would become Charlie. He knew just what he was doing.

2 comments:

rickismom said...

All of my friends who had a "normal" child after the one with Down syndrome found that the older child with DS works and pushes himself a lot to keep abreast of the younger sibling.

I think that accwepting DS is not something you do once... at various points in your life the differences "hits you in the face", and you have to come to terms with the difference. Ricki, my daughter with DS is almost 14, and she has no youngwer siblings. I see the difference with my grandkids, though.

Christina said...

Thats awesome Kim. Kallie was my first and it wasnt' until Brittany came along that I really dealt with delays. Before Brittany my eyes were blind to it. It took some time but I too got back into my grove and I am happy to hear you have as well :)

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