Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Scrapbook - Photo 1

This is a story I have been thinking about doing for a long time. It keeps running through my head when I am walking somewhere or driving in the car - figures, at times when I am nowhere near a computer. And on top of that, when I am actually at the computer I never seem to have the time to write this all down at once, so I am going to do this one in installments. It will help me make sure I actually get this story down - no longer floating around in my head, plus I will have multiple blog entries. Two purposes fulfilled all at once - ha ha.

Part 1:

I look back on my life and feel there are snapshots of moments that appear to predict the entry of Quinn into my life. It is like looking at a scrapbook and seeing events captured in isolated photos that appear to lead up to some ultimate life altering experience, like school photos leading to graduation, dating photos leading to a marriage, or pregnancy photos leading to the birth of a child. In reality there was no way to accurately predict that I would have a child with Down syndrome and it is only that these events are of coincidence, but I still nonetheless feel drawn to reflect on these moments in time.

Two events stand out even prior to my birth. When I was inside my mother, there were three potential generations all together in one - my mother, me, and Quinn. In that egg that would ultimately become Quinn was an extra 21st chromosome. Little did my mother know that she would set into motion a whole series of events that would have such an impact on our family. Quinn was there with me way back when I entered this world; she just waited until 2007 to make her grand entrance.

I learned about the second prenatal event when I was entering young adulthood. At that time, my mother shared with me a story dating back to when she was pregnant with me. She was no longer in her 20s at the time of the pregnancy. It was a difficult time for her given some intense social relationships because of a person who said some hurtful things about her and the baby. This person was talking about my mother having a child at such an "old" age (note: I was 35 when Quinn was born) and stated that my mother's child would probably be "the r-word." My mother told me that she always thought this person said this because of jealousy over my mother being pregnant, for this individual wanted another child. My mother's purpose in telling me this story was to demonstrate the character of this individual and tell me how one should treat others in less hurtful ways, but now I think back to this story and reflect upon something all together different. Was my mother relieved that she didn't have a child with a cognitive disability? Did she feel she dodged a bullet? I realize that most likely she felt that way, and I don't blame her. I probably would have felt the same. I was her only child that graduated from college, ultimately completing a Ph.D. - so maybe my mother saw some irony in this situation. The one who excelled academically was the same one that was wished to be cognitively disabled. What does this say about that social group at the time? If you are jealous of someone having a child, perhaps you might wish them to have a child with a disability? Would it be seen as the ultimate punishment? Maybe it is all fitting that out of my mother's four children, it is I who was the one who would go on to have a child with a disability, the one that someone wished would be cognitively disabled. It seemed like fate that Quinn would enter my life. When I was waiting to enter the world I was called "the r-word," and now I am the one fighting against that same word because of my daughter.


1 comment:

  1. "When I was inside my mother, there were three potential generations all together in one - my mother, me, and Quinn."

    Before I became pregnant with Lucy, I wanted nothing but boys. I really, really, really did not want a girl, but alas, we found out at 20 weeks that this was exactly what we were having. One day, driving down the street on a gorgeous spring day, I came to this same realization and from that moment on, felt humbled to be carrying a little girl. To be completing the Circle of Life Trifecta. The entire child-bearing experience is miraculous, but to me nothing was so miraculous as knowing that she had been with me since my own conception. It was a, frankly, quite staggering, but intensely beautiful feeling.