My biggest fear right now is that something will be “wrong” with my baby. Having a baby and all the things that come with that for the rest of my life is a little hard to get my mind around. But having a baby with Down Syndrome or something else is very easy to imagine. And, especially since I had cramping early on, and my hormones didn’t double like they were supposed to, I’m convinced that my body was trying to get rid of an unhealthy pregnancy, but couldn’t. I know that if something is wrong, the doctor will say “It’s not your fault.” But what if it is? What if those 2 O’Douls last month did something? What if I danced too much at Blosser’s wedding? What if the salycilic acid in my face cream is too much and absorbed through my skin and will cause a birth defect? In my head, the possibilities are endless. Why didn’t I move away to the country as soon as I started trying to get pregnant, away from all the industrial fumes and pollution? That can’t be good, right?Maybe I need one of those things from the Sharper Image that filters all your air. Or a WWII gas mask. I bet I’d get my own seat on the el every morning.
Joe and I have talked about the possibility of having a child with Down Syndrome or worse. We both know people who have severe developmental disabilities, and whom you just never know if they’re happy or sad or in pain, and it’s a difficult life to imagine. I can’t imagine having a regularly-abled child, and all the worry and guilt and hope that goes along with that, and having a child where I don’t even know if I’m making him or her happy, or causing her pain, breaks my heart. It’s a selfish worry, I know. Just because *I* can’t tell if a child is happy doesn’t mean they aren’t. People do exist outside of me. I just don’t know how NOT to worry about that.
A part of me says that Joe and I would be good parents to have a disabled child. we have friends with disabilities, and while we don’t know a lot about disability, I think that we have more of a knowledge than many other folks who don’t have any experience to people with disabilities. I’ve attended conferences on disability, and try to keep up with research. One of our best friends, Sandy Dukat, has won Olympic medals in Salt Lake City and Torino, and would be an amazing resource and role model for us. The University of Illinois at Chicago has one of the only (maybe the only?) Department of Disability and Human Development, which also would be a great resource just around the corner, not to mention the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. But then, I think about how I’m already worried about being too selfish to have children. Can I really be a big enough person to have a child that requires more care, maybe more care forever, and not be bitter, not be jealous of others, not be petty? I don’t know if I can. I guess no one ever knows for sure until they have to.
Joe had a great perspective on things one night. He’d been talking things over with a friend, and the more he talked about it, the more he realized it we very much the same situation as when we took in Wilson, the stray cat we adopted. Wilson is a great cat, super friendly and loving. But, after adopting him, we found out he has FIV and FeLV, so he has to stay sequestered from our other cats, and will probably live only 2 years, at the most. Joe said that maybe having a baby is the same, in a lot of ways. You never know quite what you’ll get, but just as we can’t imagine not having Wilson around to purr and rub and sit on our laps, we’d get so much happiness from our baby that it wouldn’t matter. Joe feels that maybe Wilson showed up in our path for a reason, so that we can learn these things on a smaller scale to help us deal with the fears on a larger one. It’s definitely a helpful perspective. And when you have a cat purring loudly on your lap, looking at you with contented kitty eyes, it’s difficult to imagine that life could be too horrible. Anytime I get a little too stressed out about all this, I just get some kitty therapy. Hopefully after we get the results of the amnio back, whenever that all happens, we can breathe a sigh of relief, or start reading up and learning as much as we can to be the best parents possible.
Time to go sit on the couch with Wilson.