Today is Day 7 of 31 for 21, a blogging effort to raise awareness for Trisomy 21.
So many times when people have a situation in which something has gone wrong, knowing that they did something wrong that added to the problem exacerbates their pain. I’ve read several accounts of women who had babies with Trisomy 21, and they all went through a period of blaming themselves for something. We moms can always find something to blame ourselves for! Whether it’s not eating well or taking prenatals during pregnancy, feeling guilty about their negativity or ambivalence when learning about T21 or crying and being upset after the baby was born, there are lots of things that moms later look back on with regret.
I’ve thought a number of times about how grateful I am in this regard. I have a tendency to have high expectations of myself, which makes it easy for me to feel like I’m not doing enough for my children. So it’s especially amazing that regarding Yirmiyahu having T21 that I’m able to accept what I did throughout pregnancy as having been enough.
I was thrilled when I became pregnant, and although there are definitely some discomforts that come along with pregnancy, there wasn’t even one minute that I wasn’t grateful for my pregnancy. My husband often remarked about how consistently positive I was, even at the end when I was having a lot of sciatic pain. I had conversations in my mind every single day with my baby, telling him how much I loved him and later on when I started having premonitions about the baby having T21, added in the message that we loved him as he was. I had a pervasive sense of emotional well-being and consistently positive thoughts about life in general and towards our baby.
On the Weston Price site there’s an article with a theory that older mothers have babies with T21 because of pregnancies that are close together, leading to mothers who are nutritionally depleted. My youngest child was over three when Yirmiyahu was born, so I had a solid block of time to build up my nutritional reserves before he was conceived and I don’t have guilt over this possibility.
I’ve been eating according as much as possible according in line with a traditional foods approach for years, and this pregnancy I was especially careful about what I ate. Except for a few chocolate bars, my diet was excellent. I took cod liver oil and early in my pregnancy, ate liver regularly for the iron. In addition to this, I took homeopathic cell salts. My general position is that it’s better to eat good quality real foods and supplementation has always been on the back burner for me, so it was unusual for me – a first, actually – that in addition to the above I took prenatal vitamins during this pregnancy.
My birth experience was traumatizing (for my husband, too) but one part of the unpleasantness that I’m grateful for was the extensive fetal monitoring at the hospital. I haven’t had this kind of fetal monitoring since my second birth, and it’s not something that added positively to the experience, but the monitoring consistently showed everything progressing normally. Yirmiyahu was born very suddenly at home (if you’re wondering how I labored in the hospital and then gave birth at home, you can read both parts of the birth story, here and here) and wasn’t breathing, and when I later looked back on this I didn’t have to wonder if this was a problem that could have been anticipated and avoided – it wasn’t and it couldn’t.
When we were told the news that our baby had T21 a few hours after he was born, along with the list of other things that were happening medically, it took me a very short time to process. There are a number of reasons for this- I’ve shared about a couple of aspects of that, and another big factor is that as a mother of a large family, I know that every child comes with their issues. I know right after finding out is a really hard time for most people and I feel very lucky in this regard that I was able to be happy with our baby as he was from the very beginning. He was loved totally and fully from conception through birth and beyond, and as a mother I feel a lot of gratitude about that.