It’s normal to be scared of the unknown. I think that is why so many are afraid of someone with special needs; they don’t understand or know what to expect. We are no exception.
When Alex was diagnosed with speech and developmental delays, I was worried. I felt guilty, thinking that maybe it was something I did or didn’t do. I wondered if this was something that would affect him his entire life or was this something that could be short term if we addressed it now. I got so many stories from friends and family with personal stories of speech delays and how they could overcome them with speech therapy, and now you wouldn’t even know they had speech issues as a child. It gave me some relief to have so many close to me overcome it.
Then he was diagnosed with ADHD. The only feeling I had with that was relief. My gut instinct was confirmed. We were not surprised since his dad has ADHD as well. I had an idea of what to expect. His dad has it, several of my friends have it, friends’ kids have it. It’s not an unknown to me. I was not afraid when we got that diagnosis, only determined to get him the help he needs.
There are still days where I find myself struggling with it all. I find myself questioning “Am I good mom to him?” “Am I doing enough for him?” “How is this impacting him socially? Will he make friends? Will he be teased?” I want to protect him. I want the best for him.
When we received the Down Syndrome diagnosis for Mary, we were scared. Neither of us have had close, personal experience with Down Syndrome. We knew of people who had it. We knew people of an acquaintance who had it. But not someone we love and cared for, not someone close enough that we knew what to expect. I was scared because I had no idea what this meant for us, for our lives, or for Alex. Honestly, I still am scared. There are still a lot of unknowns, such as her health or the level of help she will need to grow and thrive. There is the fear of the financial side of it too. Will we be able to afford to give her the help and therapy she will need? Will we be able to afford the extra medical care that might come with the Down Syndrome? It’s a lot of unknown and it’s very scary.
I’m working on combating this fear, making the amount of unknown a little smaller. We have reached out to the Down Syndrome Association. The have sent us a list of resources to help us financially and socially. I have been reaching out to parents who have a child with Down Syndrome, meeting them and their child(ren) and seeing how not-different they are. I’m learning and experiencing what I can before my precious daughter arrives.
I have had many people comment on my willingness to jump right in when I get a diagnosis and want to get a plan together. In my mind, putting my head in the sand and denying there is an issue only hurts and hinders my child’s development. The sooner we learn about what the diagnosis means, the sooner we can work on a plan to give my children the best possible chance in life.