Being pregnant was something I’d waited a long time for. From the time I was a little girl, playing with baby dolls, through my teens, and into my late twenties, I dreamed of someday being a mother. When you are young, you are busy having fun, then studying, then working and studying, then working more, until that day you realize you are not getting any younger. Many of us feel a little panic as that biological clock begins to feel more like a Doomsday’s Clock. We are set in our careers, our relationships, our life. By this time, we are comfortable with a 15 year mortgage, a retirement account, a bit of savings built up—but have never thought of saving for college for someone else. Some of us may have just finished paying off our own school loans.
Then you say those words…
“I want a baby.”
Soon that ticking turns to a gentle melody as you float through life, preparing to become a parent. You start to look at things differently. Not the logical, orderly, and sensible way you used to; no, now you have “baby fever” and everything looks like a fluffy pastel daydream. There is a new type of thinking which I like to call “first-time-mom-pseudo-reasoning”. Everything you do is justified because you are on a mission to be the perfect parent. (This will last until reality sets in sometime after the first month.)
Even before you begin to show, you are rubbing your belly tenderly. Maternity is filled with the day by day curiosity of what is going on in there.
How big is it?
Is it a boy or a girl?
What does it look like at this stage?
When will it start to move?
Then, from the moments you realize it is about he size of a grain of rice, it has become real and tangible. Something bigger than a speck is living inside of you.
Then comes the first sonogram. You try very hard to distinguish a face in that black and white fuzzy mess on the screen.
Your belly grows until you can rest your hands on top of it–or slide them over the hump in loving embrace. The movements inside are something you wish you could share with everyone, but no one really feels them, except for you.
For months, it seems at times like it is just the two of you in the world. The third trimester feels like forever. By now, you know who your baby is, you most likely know the sex and have named him or her. Life is about to change and you can’t wait. You can’t wait to meet your baby. The nursery is ready, clothes, toys… everything is set. For most mothers, their life will continue down that road.
Medical professionals have just informed you that your lil’ baby will not be like the others. Your baby will go on to live a long and happy life as a Little Person.
The first words you are likely to hear are, “There is something wrong with the baby”.
Immediately, the blood drains from your face as they explain that they think your child isn’t growing properly, or that your child might have a skeletal dysplasia or any number of things that you hear in muffled jibberish echoing through the room, which has now begun to spin on a Dutch Angle.
Times slows down as if you were in a car wreck. The smile slides slowly off of your face, your shoulders slump, you try to swim through the fog to hear what they are saying. In reality, you want it to freeze there.
A few seconds ago, your bundle of joy was going to be born with bright eyes, was going to toddle around the house, go to school, make friends, and lead the life you had planned. The same one everyone else’s child will live.
Why my baby?
Why my sweetheart?
He never did anything to anyone? She deserves a good life. How dare they tell you your child has this fearsome disease or condition or whatever it is! It just isn’t possible. Your child was going to be popular, and go to birthday parties, and college, and get married….yes?
What they do not tell you, is: Yes your baby can have all of those things you planned. Those things will just look a little different. Life will be different. Your child will be different. No one tells you at the time that different doesn’t mean bad. It doesn’t mean ugly, or sorrowful. It doesn’t mean the future is doomed. It doesn’t even mean the future you planned is over. It has just been given a new name, a new look, and a bunch of new paths. Ones the others will not — cannot go down.
Less than a couple of months ago, a mom contacted me because her unborn baby was diagnosed with dwarfism. No one had told her what all of those strange terms really meant. With nothing but the ugly postmortem pictures in the medical books to go on, she turned to the internet.
Many parents stop there.
“Let this one go and start over.” They might think to themselves.
And some do.
This mom went further. She wanted information, not on how to save this baby from a horrible fate, or how to heal it…but deep down, she was looking for a reason to fight for it. She wanted to know what the truth was and what it was going to take to successfully keep and raise her child.
In the face of other’s doubts, she searched for that knowledge to arm herself against it. When I spoke with her father on the phone, once the baby was born, he was beaming with joy and pride. I could hear it in his voice.
I am excited to see what the next few months holds for them. How they will all change. I had seen her grow from the confused girl in our first correspondence, to a strong and capable woman during our last. She was ready to be a mom. She had told me that this experience was what truly prepared her for motherhood. It forced her to confront the reality of caring for and protecting her baby. She is a special mom, they are a special family. I am convinced this child will have everything she needs to grow into a healthy adult.
If you have not read Gina’s story, please follow this link. https://dwarfaware.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/a-very-special-q-and-a/
There will be more to come in the future, as I plan on keeping in touch with them.