May 12, 2012

Let Your Child Live Their Own Life

Possibly because we knew going into pregnancy that we had a chance of having a special need's child, I refused to have expectations. After three miscarriages, my only goal was to have a live birth. I'll admit, if given a choice, I really wanted a boy with green eyes (which is what I got, yay!) but I didn't want to have any expectations as to the type of person he would become.

I think also, after our first miscarriage, I realised how quickly we build expectations the minute we discover we're pregnant. Right away you start imagining what he or she may look like, you wonder if it's a boy or a girl, you day-dream about university graduations, weddings, her first period, a first driving goes on and on. When all goes well, this can be an enjoyable part of pregnancy. When you have a miscarriage, all those dreams die along with the baby. So I quickly realized, or maybe it was a coping mechanism, that it was best never to get my hopes up and not to have any expectations about the developping child. Just being pregnant, even one day, became my whole focus and where I directed my gratitude.

Even after a healthy pregnancy, I've seen people mourning what they hoped their child would become after they received a special need's diagnosis. But I think saying, "he'll never drive a car or never get married" and being sad about it does two things: it imposes your view of how you think this other person's life should be lived and it sets limitations on your child. Unless you can see the future, why be sad about things he/she *might* not be able to do? Things can often change, they may surprise you. Also, how important are these things you want them to accomplish? Maybe they won't drive a car, but will be an amazing painter. Is that so bad? You could have a perfectly "normal" child who hates driving and never wants to get married.

Are they happy? Are they relatively healthy? Isn't that all that really matters?

I think regardless of your child's health status, you shouldn't put your hopes and fears on them. It's for them to learn, make mistakes and find their way in life.
The fact is, you lived your life. It's time to let your child live theirs.

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