Saturday, February 14, 2009

On being an older Mom..

I have to admit that after I found out Lauren would have Down syndrome, I felt like such a cliche'. There I was, the woman of 'advanced maternal age' pressing the envelope of natural events by becoming pregnant. If I had just stopped with Gabe, everything would have been okay.

Oh, and it is even worse because I was not trying to get pregnant. It was this kind of 'see, you should not have
gone there and now look at the mess you have made.

--You will pay for this the rest of your life.

--You will be that same 87 year old Mother you saw at the hospital taking her 44 year old son to see his doctor. The one you smiled at but inwardly sighed with great relief because,
really, that is depressing & just unnatural for a Mother to still be responsible for her son's checkups when she is 87 years old!!

It took a while for me to stop seeing that in a negative light, yet I can smile about it now, knowing/hoping that I will be around long enough to accompany Lauren to the doctor when she is 44 years old.

Because so many children with Ds are born to mothers under 30, I do not actually get the chance to talk about this with that many other moms. The younger moms, though, have the perspective of "I am so
young, how could this have happened?" For them there is no cliche', just wonderment.

The statistics say this about the occurrence of Down syndrome:
  • About 1-in-800 risk overall for all births
  • Less than 1-in-1,000 for women under 30
  • About 1-in-25 risk for a 45-year-old mother
I was 42 when I conceived Lauren and 43 when she was born. I used to wish that she had been my firstborn child because I figured I would have more energy, openness and naivete' about the horrors of raising a child with special needs. But, being of "advance maternal age" does have so many advantages!

Here are just a few:

I've lived long enough to see that children with Ds are really, really wonderful and can do many wonderful things

I've lived long enough to have put another daughter with special needs all the way through high-school. IEP's, OT, PT, etc. etc. are not new terms to me.

I've lived long enough to know that children pretty much choose their parents and not the other way around. Lauren was born to Chaz and me because she needed to be in our family.

I've lived long enough to know when I need to worry and when I don't. I know that Lauren will walk one day and when she does, she does. (I don't need to be chasing her around the church, mall, playgroung, school. That day will come and perhaps by then I will be ready for it).

I've lived long enough to know that it is sometimes hard to raise a child that is different but it is always, always, always a gift.

I've lived long enough to know that I still have much to learn and that Lauren will be there to tell me what she needs.

And now, some pictures, because what good is a blog post without them?:


Ruby's Mom said...

Great post!I understand what you mean about feeling like a cliche.
Your daughter is gorgeous:)

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

I'm in the cliche club too. But I could care motto is interesting is far better than perfect.

I think as a full grown parent I know enough to stand up to anyone I don't think is working in my child's best interest and not care all that much about if the still like me.

I've met enough losers with great intelligence to know IQ doesn't = happiness.

I've seen enough parents dissappointed by their typical children to know the beauty of one that will always exceed my expectations...

beautiful post!

Cathy said...

This 42 year old mom thanksyou for this beautiful post.

Ann said...

I too thought about being the older lady with the adult son w/Ds and I have total peace with that. I wrote on a post at the Babycenter Ds community that I'll still have the Mai Tai's on the beach. He'll just be sipping right next to me (if he wants to that is). Love your post.

Anonymous said...

beautiful post. I have a 5 yr old daughter born with DS and she is just the joy o fmy life. Challenging? You bet. But the joy outweighs anything else 100 to 1. She will be your superstar and, yes, you will learn a lot from and through her.

Angie said...

ok, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess your maternal age isn't *quite* as advanced as your the links would suggest ;)

Lauren choose a beautiful mother.

Anonymous said...

Your list of "I've lived long enough to know" brought tears to my eyes(happy, understanding tears) because I'm right there with you. I'm still struggling with letting Wil go at his own pace, but I'm getting there. I love your quote that you have much to learn but Lauren will be there to tell you what she needs. Every milestone is a gift. Wil is such a gift to our family--I can't imagine him any other way and I don't want to. He's my little guy. Big hugs to sweet Lauren :)

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