How do I bond with this baby? I’ve talked about how I want others to see this baby as a real person and maybe part of that is so I can feel like this baby is real. I’ve felt a lot of movement in the past few days and movement is something I am so very thankful for. Mostly because I know the baby is alive and nothing has changed. It helps a little to think the baby is interacting with me and my body too. But it’s still so unreal. It was unreal when I discovered I was pregnant. At that time, I felt pretty much ok and certainly didn’t look pregnant. It was unreal when we found out the baby has Down Syndrome. I hadn’t even adjusted to the pregnancy yet and then I had another hurdle to adjust to. It got a little more real when we went to the CT Congress on Downs Syndrome’s conference- meeting parents with children with Down Syndrome. But now this. I need another conference full of people who’s babies kidneys weren’t working and had lung issues. AND have Down Syndrome. I just don’t know what life will be like if the baby lives. I have no role models, no scenarios, no nothing.
I can’t picture what my baby will look like. I used to have trouble just trying to morph Chris’s and my baby pictures in my head to come up with some vision of our baby. Adding features of Down Syndrome made it more difficult to imagine the face of our baby. And now with the low fluid, the baby may have Potter’s syndrome too- with no swimming pool to stretch out in, the baby’s limbs could be contracted and some of the facial features smooshed. Plus the baby has clubbed feet. I worry that my baby will look funny. I know it will be my baby, but I just can’t picture him/her.
I think about if we have to have a funeral- I don’t know if I’d display a photo- especially if it were a stillbirth- mostly because people are uncomfortable with seeing a photo of a dead baby. I would keep those photos for me to remember and reflect. So my next thought would be to display a picture of the baby’s feet, because that’s a sweet, classic, usually “safe” image. But my baby’s feet might be rotated and contracted. It makes me so sad that there might not be photos of my baby that people would want to see.
So how do I bond with this baby? I know that this may be a typical first time mom experience. It’s hard to envision yourself as a mother until you’ve been one, right? But the act of breastfeeding, changing diapers, holding your baby are all things that help first time moms really get adjusted to the idea that they are really mothers. I might not get that. I know people will say I’m still a mom even if my baby doesn’t survive. But how will I feel like a mom? If my baby is in the neonatal ICU, I don’t get to do those initial mom things. I don’t even get the first step- holding my baby skin to skin.
How do I bond with this baby?
On another note, I came across this on one of my Down Syndrome message boards. I can’t explain the part of my brain and heart that this touched. I read this as not just as someone who is pregnant, but who faces pregnant women every day.
My response when people ask if its a boy or a girl. “I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure its a baby.” It’s a baby.