It would be very easy to become overwhelmed with raising Aubrey. And to be honest, sometimes it does become overwhelming. But when it does, we stop and pray. We pray for strength to get through the days. We pray for wisdom to make the best choices for her life. We pray for peace. We pray for understanding. We pray for help. And we trust God to get us through it.
I learned right away, that I can't do this on my own. Life is gonna be busier and more challenging and taxing with Aubrey. But I don't think she is the only kid in the world that does that to parents and I don't think that Down syndrome is the only diagnosis that makes things challenging. In fact, I think there are more challenging children out there....boys in general for example:)
I'm admitting that it is hard. And it has taken me years to admit that out loud. I always strived to show that life with a child who has Down syndrome is great and easy and she is such a blessing. She is all those things most of the time, but it is challenging and taxing and hard too. There is a balance that can be hard to find, but we do our best. Sometimes that means we take the easy route and skip things. Because at that moment, that is what is best. Sometimes pushing her isn't what is best. And sometimes, I just don't have the energy to put into doing the work.
It takes a village and sometimes a city to make it all happen. Sometimes there are days that are hard....sometimes weeks.....and sometimes months that are hard.
One of the hardest things that I have learned to do....is ask for help. We live in a world/society that puts the pressure on mothers to be SUPER MOMS! We have to do it all. Be it all. ALL. THE. TIME. I wanted to be that mom. I strived to be that mom. Pretended to the outside world that I was that mom.
Asking for help....even from my husband....felt like I was failing at my job. Asking for help, meant that I had to admit to the outside world that I wasn't a super mom and I couldn't do it all. Admitting it to myself was easy, but admitting it to the world is hard.
Here's the thing, God didn't put us on this earth alone. He created partners for us. And I got the best! And he created friendships. I got the best of those too! He created families and church families and neighbors. He did that because we weren't meant to be alone....We weren't meant to live life alone. We are meant to lean on each other and help each other and befriend each other and help each other.
This journey has changed me. I could never do it all on my own, but now I can readily admit that and actually ask for help when I need it. NOT asking for help, does not benefit me or my family and we get burned out very quickly.
I hope that it has made me a better friend as well. When I can, I try to practice random acts of kindness. I try to drop a meal off for a friend just because they could use it or stop by with coffee or insist on helping, because I know that asking is hard.
I have learned to worry less about what the world things and more about what my husband and kids think and feel. It doesn't matter to them if I do it all. It just matters that I do what I can with love.My encouragement to you is this:
First pray. I always heard the saying, God won't give you more than you can bear. But when Aubrey was born, a friend reminded me that God IS going to give me more than I can bear, so that I will lean on Him and trust in Him and call on Him for help. And He is going to carry me, when I just can't do it any more. My faith is what makes this journey a success. My faith is what gets me through, because my God is so great and good. There is nothing He can't do and provide for us. My Aubrey's life is planned out by Him and His plan is better than any plan I could come up with.
Do not find shame in asking for help. I don't think it gets any easier, but when you are able to actually have a conversation with a doctor without 5 kids in the doctors office with you, it will be worth it.
We all have struggles and challenges. Mine might just be more visible to you, as I chase my two little ones down at the grocery store or volleyball game. But we all have something we are dealing with. So take the time, to help someone out. Bring them dinner or coffee or muffins to make the morning smoother. Reach out to someone that you haven't in a long time and just let them talk. Just be a friend.