Sunday, November 06, 2005

God's Blessings

My day job is homeschooling my 4 kids and since I'm doing that 24/7 I usually like to escape into the world of politics when I write in my blog. But today I'm going to stray a little.

As I was sitting in church today I and others were admiring the cute baby girl (who had downs syndrome) in the pew in front of us. There was something about her that was special and made everyone smile. I started thinking about how so many people might view her and other special needs children. There is an outlook of pity and in some sense that her life isn't as good of quality as "normal" children.

A lady in our church recently had a baby at the age of 48 after already having 7 other children. She was very apprehensive about telling anyone she was pregnant because of the fear of what others would say and how they would judge her. Amazingly even in our church there were people that said hurtful things to her. I admit that even I thought, better her than me. I have no desire to have 8 children and especially to be pregnant at the age of 48 and what about the possiblity of having a baby with downs syndrome? Ofcourse I didn't say any of these things to her. But as I listened to her struggles and the mean things people said I realized something. If we truly say we are pro-life all life should be valuable. Her decisions may be different than ours but we should be saying more power to her and admire her for valuing life. A downs syndrome baby is just as precious as "normal" babies and maybe more so.

How do I know? I don't have a downs syndrome baby but I do have a son with special needs. My 4th and youngest child was 5 months old when I noticed something was wrong. I am prone to anxiety and so I immediately started fearing the worst. At 10 months we got him into a specialist and the developmental pediatrician said he suspected he had mild cerebral palsy. You have no idea how devastated I was and how hard it was to hear those words. First of all I didn't know what it would all mean and my biggest fear was that I had a child that wasn't "normal" and would other kids make fun of him?

We immediately got everyone praying. I started the grieving process of accepting that I had a special needs child. And we got him into therapy. It was amazing to see what God did with my little boy and with me. I started realizing what was most important. It hasn't been an easy road but God has really worked. He didn't walk until he was 2 1/2 and at age 3 he still wasn't really talking much. I had therapists telling me that he might never talk. But they were wrong. Today he is almost 6 yrs. old and walking well and talking in sentences. His diagnosis has changed to developmental delays with Ataxia. Most of the time I forget he is a special needs child. He can do anything his brother and sisters can do. But every once in awhile I will be brought back to earth with some of his limitations.

You love all of your children the same but my little boy is very special. He has a charm about him that makes everyone love him and he literally has a sparkle in his eyes. He is my most affectionate child and tells me he loves me more than any of my other kids. He is a HUGE blessing to me and I can't imagine life without him. My husband and I are not to be pitied for having a special needs child and his quality of life is not less than any "normal" child (whatever that means). All life and children are a blessing and are valuable.


Joia said...

Amen, Woman! Very well expressed. Also a very strong statement of pro-life values.

Valerie said...

I noticed your post on Big White Hat's blog, and decided to pay you a visit. Thank you for your touching post, and I totally agree with Joia who said it was a very strong statement of pro-life values.

I have two adopted teenage girls - one of them has "special needs" and the other has a crhonic illness. They are blessings to me. I hate the pity, too, all that is asked for is acceptance.

Take care, and I look forward to getting to know you better.

bigwhitehat said...

I have a little linky love in the works.

Rivka said...

Great post! Another thing i wanted to add is that most people have no clue that you and I are pretty close friends as well. Chatterbox and I attended the same church at that time, and I witnessed her suffering. What is cool about being a Christian is that it is unexplainable how you can 'feel' thier pain and grieve with them.
Grieving with her we did, and it is encouraging to see her family come out of this on top!

At the same time her son was diagnosed a few months later my son was diagnosed with Autism, severe autism. So, although we were both grieving, I could call her and she would listen to my fears, feelings etc.. We helped eachother out at that time as just a shoulder to cry on.

I know Chatterbox's boy and he IS a wonderful child with a sparkle in his eye. Chatterbox is a most incredible mom and it shows in all 4 of her children.. She really worked hard with her son, and look at him now! She didn't let self-pity take over and not get the help her son needed. She pulled up her boot straps and went full tilt boogie.
Good job mommy!!

Rivka said...

oh yeh, one of the comments you made about people being cruel. I know that so well!
When we were pregnant with our 4th child, i was afraid to let anyone at church know, let alone anyone in public watching me be pregnant already having 3 boys ages 5 and under. I got sick of hearing..
"You have your hands full!".. DUH!!

I wanted to hear.."Wow, what a blessing!". Because it is.

We did not want to get pregnant with our 4th. Our house was too small, we were trying to re-build due to our small business that went uner, so we were financially tight. I had to deal with 2 boys on the autism spectrum, and a 1 year old to boot!
When i found out i was pregnant i was in shock and just curled up in my bed and cried. I prayed to God and asked him why? why now? I wasn't ready for what i was going to go through emotionally, mentally, and then i had to tell my friends who i knew would talk behind my back saying.."what is she, crazy??".. These are friends at my church who say negative things about women who have more than 3 children.

Well, we were being 'responsible' with birth control. But, we got pregnant anyway. I desperately needed support. But not pity.

Well, my husband was so positive about it, and that really helped!
But, God reminded me that he would give me the strength and finances to provide.
Well, it turns out that he did! We didn't have a lot, and we struggled, but he provided through friends, family, the church, and through an 'all of a sudden' raise my husband got, and a good part time second job he took on so i could stay home. My husband works hard.

My 4th child is a total blessing and is extremely cute! He is a boy too! He does not have autism, and is very smart! I am so glad we had him!
It was not more than i could handle after all. At times it is rough, and since my husband works all the time, i felt like a single paretn, but my husband working all the time is how he shows us he loves us by providing. For that i am so thankful!! If not, i am sure God would have provided anyway.
I have seen GOd provide in such miraculous ways in our life financially it just blows me away that women decide to get rid of their child moreso than trusting God to provide. He will provide!

Rivka said...

sorry, i seem to be taking over your blog!!!
One more example:
I met a gal at our grocery store. She was fresh out of college. I walked by her with all 4 boys, and she said.. Wow, what a blessing. That was the first time i heard that!
Come to find out, she is a sibling to 11 brothers and sisters. Her mom has had 12 kids! She was so courteous, helpful and mature for her age. What a blessing to have so many siblings and such a great experience taking care of the younger ones. SHe told me she helps her mom all the time and it doesn't bother her.
Sorry, but I am a firm believer in big families. If only we could have started younger, and my back didn't go out after my 3rd child, who knows how many we would have by now!

Children are a blessing, not a burden! It is hard raising them, it is never easy, but they are so worth the sacrifice!

Dionne said...

Rebecca: Thanks so much for your very kind words. And you are right. Our church did grieve with us and help us through that difficult time.

I also got mean comments by total strangers sometimes for having more than 2 kids and having them too close together in some people's opinions. It always amazes me what some people think is their business.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 07 05

Hello Ms. Chatterbox:
YOu hit the nail on the head with this one. If we are to be pro life, life must be respected. It bothers me that some Christians talk the talk but gossip behind your back and don't walk the walk. How wonderful it must be to be a parent! I know it has to be tough being anyone's parent, but the love and caring that you give your children is a real blessing. I am so happy to have run across your blog because it is touching. If we are really to be pro life, we must support others who are pro life. I totally agree! Good post:)

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 07 05

And you and Rebecca thx so much for sharing your stories. It is hard to expose your vulnerabilities, especially when writing. But when others are able to read, it brings our emotions into focus and we emulate and pray for you. So keep it up and we will all pray for you:)

Dionne said...

Mahndisa: Thanks so much for your kind words. I definitely appreciate your prayers :-).

James Manning said...

Hey, I see you've gotten creative with the sidebar. Congrads.

Anonymous said...

I too came here via BWH's blog. I am moved to tears by your entry. Children are truly a gift from God.

echotig said...

Thank you for writing that! I pity those that can only feel pity for children with special needs. They never get the joy and blessings of getting to know a truly unique a wonderful child. They never look past their fear or of the awkwardness of know what to say or not say.

I guess as a parent, not knowing what you are in for is the scariest part. Like when you first realize there is something wrong. But then time goes by and you figure out what you have a huge blessing.

So consider this comment a great big pat on the back, and hug, for being a good parent and loving all your children. because parenting is not for sissies!

Jo said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog....I totally agree with you on many of your opinions. I would say all but I haven't been able to read all yet.
2 birds of a feather,

Eddie said...

God gives these children to us as a blessing.