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What It Should Have Said 

I was cleaning out my closet today; sorting through old clothes, photographs, boxes of odds-n-ends. The kids were happily running around the house playing with each other and being about as loud as a herd of elephants wearing microphones. They came running into the closet, scampered around the mess for a moment or two and then turned to run out. Gabe bumped into the chair that I was perched upon on his way by I had to let go of the box I was holding to steady myself. I reached down to pick up the papers that had been scattered and stopped.  
I recognized it instantly. It was creased and wrinkled. There was a spaghetti sauce stain on the corner of it and ink smears where my tears had fallen onto the paper. I opened it up, smoothed it out and took a deep breath. I knew what it said, I had read it enough times that I practically had it memorized. It was given to me tucked inside a manila folder and placed in a binder alongside pamphlets and informational flyers. It was a life changing paper, one that altered the course of my family’s lives.  


It said, 47, XY, +21, abnormal karyotype. Analysis shows three copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) in each metaphase cell examined consistent with the clinical diagnosis of Down syndrome. 
It said, common manifestations include mental retardation, cardiac abnormalities, small stature, gastrointestinal complications, hearing and/or visual disorders and hypotonia. Social development is typically more advanced than intellectual development.
It said, there is a greater than 30% risk for fetal loss in the second half of pregnancy.
It said that there is an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities in subsequent conceptions.
It said to me that my child, my son, was abnormal on a cellular level. That he would face physical and intellectual challenges. That there was a chance that I would not get to meet him. And it said that it could happen again. 

 It said to me that life as I knew it was over, the child I had dreamed of was gone.  
It said things that made me not just cry, but sob uncontrollably. Things that made me go through the next several weeks worrying about the safety and well being of the baby growing within. Things that painted a drab and dreary future of abnormalities and complications. Oh how wrong was that paper.  
What it should have said was; we have completed your testing. You are having a baby boy. His cells are more unique than most of the ones we see. Inside of each and every one of those microscopic discs is an extra twenty first chromosome. While the addition of this extra chromosome may make it more difficult for him to do all the things that children without Down syndrome do, it does not mean that he can’t. It does mean that he will find his own way to do them and he may do them at different times than children lacking this extra chromosome.  


What it should have said was; While this little extra piece may seem daunting and overwhelming, included within it are some amazing things! There is a laugh that is contagious, it can fill a room and make even the most somber smile and chuckle. There is a determination that will sometimes test the limits of even the most steadfast parents. But that determination will be used to accomplish many things! There is an infectious joy that passes from this one little person to all those around them. There are hugs and cuddles and kisses and snuggles that are absolutely unbeatable.
What is should have said was: There are lessons tucked away inside that additional twenty first chromosome. These lessons are best taught by the little one who carry them. Lessons on acceptance, unconditional love, empathy, compassion and selflessness. Lessons that makes us view the world around us in a completely different light. Lessons that makes us stronger as parents. Lessons that remind us not to rush and to take time to enjoy the little things in life. Lessons that accumulate to make those around this little being, just a little bit better.
What is should have said was: Inside of this chromosome there is an extra dose of resilience and drive, humor and personality, understanding and patience. There is strength, forgiveness, steadfastness and even temper! There is sweetness, fierceness, willfulness, and stubbornness. There is rhythm and dancing, silly songs and imagination. There is intelligence and brilliance, ability and accomplishments.
What it should have said was: This chromosome’s effects are not just isolated to the one whose cells contain it. It will impact and touch all those who encounter this child. Hearts will be softened, perceptions altered and lives changed by this sweet boy. It will change you. You will learn more about yourself than you knew before. You will be an advocate, a voice. You will find a strength that you didn’t know existed, a boldness that may even surprise you.  
What it should have said was: With this information may come a feeling of fear, worry, anger, disappointment, uncertainty or even guilt. Those feelings are normal, it can be challenging to imagine what life will be like caring for a little one with so much extra inside of them. Take some time and be patient with yourself. Remember that the baby you are carrying is still the same baby; you are just one of the lucky ones whose child contains a little extra amazing.


What it should have said was: Congratulations, it’s a boy!

 

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A Cup of Milk

Despite all of Gabes amazingness, he does struggle with speech. He is great at single syllable words but often leaves off the last sound; cat=cah, dog=doh. He is wonderful with frequently used words; Mommy, Daddy, sister, NO! and bad dog, are all clear as can be. He can put small words together to make requests; “milk please”. But unless you’re around Gabe as often as we are, or your familiar with the signs that he uses along with the words he says, it can be hard to understand him. Even I have trouble some days. 

But!  That doesn’t stop him from getting his point across.  He recently had a tonsillectomy and it made his voice and words even more muffled than usual.  I was experiencing a great deal of difficulty understanding him and he was pretty frustrated with me. Usually he will use sign along with his words to tell me what he is needing, but this specific day he was just too uncomfortable, tired and frustrated. After repeated failures of understanding what he needed, he turned around and huffed out of the room.  I didn’t go after him as he will usually return after a few moments and try again or change his mind and do something else. 

He was gone for maybe ten minutes. When he returned to sisters bedroom where we had previously been trying to figure out what he needed, his desire was VERY clear. He was dragging with him a jug of milk, and carrying not just a sippy cup, but a matching lid as well!  I was awestruck. Not just by him figuring out a way to communicate his needs but by everything that he had just accomplished. 

I’ve talked before about the challenges that Gabe faces and how that extra chromosome of his can make things harder for him. Motor planning (thinking about what your body needs to do and then doing it), problem solving and critical thinking are difficult. But Gabe continues to find ways to complete these tasks and surprise us! 

Aside from the strength it takes for a little 28 pound boy to yank open the fridge door and pull out a jug of milk. He then dragged it out of the kitchen and down the hall!  Before he did that though, he knew that he needed something to put it in!  Not just any something, but specifically a sippy cup WITH a lid. We have a variety of sippy cups in the kids’ drawer, they’re tossed in there with the lids mixed in.  Gabe had to sort through, pick out a cup AND a lid that matched each other. He did. He brought that matching cup with lid along with the jug of milk all the way into sisters room for me to pour him something to drink. 

When I took stock of what all he had returned with, I was shocked and overjoyed. Gabe had taken it upon himself to show mommy what he needed when I couldn’t understand. But it was so much more than that too!  It was critical thinking, problem solving, strength, motor planning, sorting, matching, and it was amazing.  This little guy doesn’t let others ability or inability to understand him stop him from expressing his needs!  He is determined and creative and I am once again in awe of this little guys resourcefulness and determination!  

I took a quick video of him in sisters room with his items before pouring his milk!  (Which he enjoyed!) 

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Deafening Silence 

It’s in the quiet moments that I hear it the most. The soft pop and hiss of tiny fractures spreading across my aching heart. It reminds me of that first step you take onto thin ice. You feel the millimeter of give beneath your boot, and hear the thick crack as the ice groans in protest under your weight. Your stomach plunges, your heart races, your breath rushes out in rapid steamy gasps. Frozen, you wait, knowing that at any minute you may plunge into the icy depths unsure if you will resurface. 

It’s in those quiet moments that I know it’s coming and right now there is nothing I can do to stop it. I know as time goes on I will be able to slowly ease back from the edge, creeping ever so lightly to a different and stronger path. But for now, I fall, over and over into that frigid painful water, struggling for breath, tears blurring my vision, fighting against myself while I attempt to gain my footing in flailing failure.


I know I’m not alone in this; a myriad of women have been exactly where I am. Many others are still here with me, picking up the pieces of their hearts, attempting to mend them. To put them back together as they were before. But, hearts can’t go back as seamless and as perfect as they were before a miscarriage. There will always be little chips, cracks and craters that remain. Little pieces of yourself that were lost along with your child. 

Miscarriage is never an easy word to say. It’s a word that brings nothing good with it. It’s a word that makes people uncomfortable. One that is spoken in hushed whispers and with solemn expressions. A word that carries pain and sorrow; a life changing word. It’s a word that steals away the innocence and bliss of pregnancy and leaves in its place fear and questions. It’s a word that thrusts you into an unfamiliar and scary new world; one you don’t want to be in. It’s a word that is often hard to say, even by those who have endured it.

Why is it so hard for us to speak freely about this? Not just for myself but for other women as well? Why is there such a hesitation to share our loss, our grief? Miscarriages are not uncommon, they’re not new and they’re not going away. So why do so many women feel like they have to suffer in silence, only sharing with a handful of family members and close friends? Why do we feel we can we only find solace within the secret groups of other mothers whose hearts are chipped and cracked like ours?


Maybe it’s because we’re subconsciously afraid that we will rub off on someone. That our bad luck can spread from person to person like a nasty unseen virus. Maybe it’s because we know how much it hurts. And we’re afraid that if we say the words out loud to someone who has been there as well that their heart, despite all the repairs, will begin to crack and creak as they are reminded again of their loss. 

Maybe it’s because hardly anyone knew that we were pregnant? Most women wait until it’s “safe” to share the news of the secret new life growing inside of them. Having been a Labor and Delivery nurse, I know that no one is safe. Ever. But if we haven’t told anyone about the baby, how do I tell them when its gone? Because that’s a really easy conversation to have. Do you say “So last week I was pregnant, and this week I am not” or “Please excuse my pallor and mascara runs, I lost my baby, the one you didn’t know about”. 


Maybe it’s because, right now we have near constant physical reminders of our loss that we can’t bear to see sad eyes, or hear “I’m so sorry” or “It wasn’t meant to be” or “there was probably something wrong with it anyway” or “you can always try again”. Maybe it’s because we want just one place where we can go and play pretend. Imagine that we are not shattered, pretend that we’re whole and perfect; that we’re not holding ourselves together with sheer will and Oreo cookies.

Maybe it’s because in a society that is so centered around choice that a determination of actual “life” has yet to have been made and that we are afraid our baby “doesn’t count”. That our loss is no real loss, our heartbreak is just our own making. Or maybe it’s the fear of being blamed. That somewhere deep inside that person who we have just told, is thinking it must be our fault someway or somehow. We had to have done something wrong, or definitely didn’t do everything right to be where we are. 

Maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe it’s just fear. That saying the words out loud will send us plunging through that thin ice again to drown again in our tears. Or a fear that talking about will make it easier and that easiness will mean we are forgetting. Not forgetting the hurt or sorrow, but forgetting the baby that flew away from this earth before we did.  

Maybe it’s because it really just sucks. And it hurts. And because we can’t say the words without crying. And because maybe we’re tired of crying, but feel guilty if we aren’t. It’s a crummy roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, that leave us feeling dizzy and disoriented.


It’s in the quiet moments that I know, regardless if I talk about it or not, say the words aloud or not, that I will slowly pick up the pieces of my heart and fit them back together. They won’t be seamless, it may be hard to get them to stick together, and there will always be gaps, but it’s in those places that I will tuck the little life that was a part of me for too short a time. It’s in those places that I will place the lifetimes of hopes and dreams formed during the too few moments we were together.  

It’s in the quiet moments, that I hear it the most. That soft hiss and pop of breaking hearts. It’s because of those moments that I know the silence must be broken. I have had a miscarriage and it hurts. I am slowly putting the pieces back together and while I do I remind myself that “He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles”. You don’t have to be alone in those quiet moments, I am here if you need me. We can heal together. 

He Speaks My Language

Gabe got hurt. More specifically he got a splinter. It was a fairly good size splinter too! It was in the outside crease of his hand and it was red and irritated looking. I wouldn’t have known that it was there, because it was cleverly hidden in the lines of his chubby little hand, but he told me about it. He told me about it. My sweet little boy came up to me, held up his little fist to show me and said, “Ow, tiss”.  
I stared at him. My face was blank and my mouth was open. I apparently sat like that for a moment too long because he then repeated the request, shoving the little fist even closer to my face, “OW, tiss” he said again. The insistence in his tone and repeat of his request snapped me out of my amazed stupor. I took him over to the couch, flipped on the light and removed the splinter using my master splinter removing tools (tweezers). I gave it another kiss, he murmured ‘kyoo’, his version of thank you, and ran off to play with his ‘scoobus’.  

I stared after him for a long time; I didn’t realize that I was crying until I felt the tear drop onto my arm. I know what you’re thinking, “no big deal, he had a booboo, mommy kissed it, all better, so what?” but it IS a big deal. It’s a really freaking enormous jumbo large deal. It’s not just a request from an injured toddler. This is an entire new world of realization and understanding we’re talking about. Gabe recognized that he had an injury, he knew that mommy could fix it, how mommy could fix it and then he told me about it. He didn’t just speak, he used language!

  
Speech and language are two different things. Speech is the physical production of sound. It is the articulation, voice and fluency of words. Gabe can speak, he repeats words that are said to him in the best way he can. He uses approximations of words, for example, dog is ‘dah’, thank you is ‘kyoo’, see you is ‘syou’. He also uses signs to speak along with his word approximations; he will say ‘mil’ and sign milk, he will sign grandma and say ‘mama’. He also speaks “Gabeinese”; a combination of babble and word approximations that he puts together and uses to chat with anyone who is breathing within a ten mile radius.  

But language is a method of human communication. Language is a rule based set of processes. Language represents much more than just words, it represents thoughts and ideas. Language is social, it’s communicative, it’s a skill and it is difficult. It’s receptive, understanding others and it’s expressive, sharing thoughts or ideas.

  

Let’s think about it like this; you see a cat. You recognize that the animal you are seeing is a cat. You think of the word cat in your mind and you want to say the word cat. So your brain puts the word cat in a car (motor impulse) and sends it down the highway (neurons) to your mouth (oral motor system). Your lungs have to fill up to produce the air to flow through the vocal cords to produce the sound that will turn into cat. The back of your tongue moves to the roof of your mouth in anticipation of the ‘c’ sound, your lips widen and your tongue drops down away from the roof of your mouth for the ‘aaa’ sound and then the tip of your tongue presses against the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth, to produce the “tuh” sound.

Imagine a bicycle instead of a car, a clogged up highway, a mouth with muscles that aren’t as strong, feeling that isn’t as sensitive and TWO words to make! It doesn’t sound like such an easy process now does it? Speech is really freaking hard! Language is even harder! That’s why this is such a big deal. Gabe recognized that his hand hurt and he was able to name that feeling. He was able to problem solve, what will make this feel better? Mommy! He was able to put a name to his feeling and establish a request in two seemingly simple words, “ow, tiss”. He used language to express his pain and his desire for me to help him. And it was beautiful. It was heartwarming, it made me want to jump up and down and it made me cry.  

I have cried a lot in the four years since we received Gabe’s diagnosis, it should be noted that I am kind of an emotional person anyway. In the beginning I had mostly sad and angry tears; those disappeared the moment I held my sweet boy for the first time. I do still have rare moments, where I stare too far down into the future and I begin to shed some worry filled tears, but those are few and far between. Mostly the tears that fall now are ones of joy, happiness and laughter, or when I step on one of the kids’ toys in my bare feet. Now I guess when I do step on a toy, instead of crying, I can just look at Gabe, hold out my foot and say “ow, tiss”.

  

It’s been a while

Actually, it’s been almost a year….361 days since the last blog post. Let me start by saying, I’m sorry….

 
Writing has always been a big part of who I am. Writing is therapeutic for me. Writing is my release, I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keys), and pour out my heart. On my darkest days writing brings me light. My writing often reflects my emotion because I write from my heart. My feelings dipped in ink and stamped on paper. I am transparent, honest and raw. 

But I’m also a hesitant sharer.  I wrote in middle school, scribbling furiously in a secret journal, sharing my thoughts only with myself.  I wrote in high school, sharing some of my most special pieces with just my favorite English Teacher. I wrote when I was I college and newly married, letters to myself, of the future I imagined for myself and my new husband.  I wrote when I became a mom, chronicaling the everyday events of my daughter. Light hearted and happy, these were the stories of my life, a glimpse into the shenanigans of my walk in mommy hood.  

Then I began to write about my son; the guilt that I felt with my first reaction to his diagnosis. I wrote about my feelings about Down syndrome. What it has given and what it has taken away. I need it, my heart needed it. And then after almost a year, I decided to share. I shared everything, I put it all out there. And I was relived. I felt like I was using my testimony to help other families who were just beginning there walk down the blue and yellow road of Down syndrome. I shared my blog with some of my fellow moms, my family and friends. And then something happened. 

Someone noticed my blog, they noticed a post. A post about an experience that I had with a cashier, so they shared it. And they shared it, and shared it, and shared it. Before long the post had been shared so much that it was considered “viral”. Then it turned into something more than my heart on paper, it was a “pro-life movement”, it was a “call for attention”, it was “monopolizing my child” and it “was all a lie”. I looked beyond many of the comments, including the private ones that came with hateful comments directed at my son.  I took comfort in the many encouraging posts from people who commented with love, encouragement and stories of their own. 

 
I continued to write and share here and on my blog Facebook page, but less often. I was hesitant, the comments had gotten into my heart, I was being more guarded with my sharing.  The negative comments became fewer and things felt like they were back to normal, until I found out that Gabes photo had been taken, edited to include the words “I got cancer” and was being used on multiple Facebook pages for likes and shares. I worked hard to get them removed and despite several pages being closed, many more remained active, using Gabe for like farming. 

So I stopped. I stopped blogging, I kept writing, but not sharing. I decided that I would close Hand Me Downs, and go back to sharing with those closest to me only. And then two things happened, last week I got an email with a photo in it.  A sweet baby girl, snuggled up in her mamas arms, her mama wrote, 

“I sorry my English not good, from Italy.  Your writing give me hope when daughter, Elena, was born Down syndrome.   I see your son smile and think it’s all okay.  She is good health and we love her.  Thank you for your sharing. Ilaria”

Then tonight the post Sometimes I Forget resurfaced on Scary Mommy. A good friend tagged me in it and I was initially terrified.  Then I remembered Ilaria and Elana and I just don’t care anymore. In the words of Taylor Swift, “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate”.   And “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off!”  

Feel free to comment below if y’all don’t like it, but I’m all done letting others bad behavior dictate my choices!

After Down Syndrome

  

Everyone has at least one day in their lives that they could call “life changing”. When applied to my life there are a few moments that come to mind; high school graduation, my engagement and subsequent wedding, the night we found out we were expecting our first child, her birth, the day I found out we were expecting again.  I can tell you the month date and year that all of those things occurred, they’re important moments, monumental moments, moments that changed the course of my and then my husband’s life.  One thing that they all have in common is the joy that came with these special moments and the tears shed by me or others that were looking on with love and pride.

But there is another moment, one that will be with me until the end of my days.  It’s a moment that I’m not proud of, a moment full of anger and hate and tears.  Three years ago today, I was blissfully unaware that I was about to add another “life changing” moment to my list.  I had no idea that less than 24 hours from now, I would be given news that would expose my truest of feelings, and leave me shaken, ashamed and confused.

 When I think about it, I don’t really remember much about March 20th, 2012; it wasn’t anymore special to me than any other day.  I couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I couldn’t tell you what I wore, if I was at work or home, if I did anything special with my spouse or daughter.  I’m sure I was happy, or as happy as a pregnant lady chasing a toddler could be.  We had some scary news earlier in the pregnancy, that had seemed to resolve itself, and although I knew the results for our amniocentesis would be in soon, I wasn’t too concerned.

  

And then the next day came.  I remember going to work and having a fairly pleasant day in Triage, I chatted with friends, very few knew that we had an amnio, so it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind.  As I was leaving I checked my voicemail, there was a message from our perinatologist to call him back; our results were in.  So I did just that.  I called him back, and then March 21stwas added to my list of life changing days.  It wasn’t a happy occasion; the tears that were shed were not ones of pride, joy, or love. 

I can sometimes still feel fear and confusion that I felt after hearing the Doctor utter two little words “Down syndrome”.  I can still feel the tears that rushed down, soaking my steering wheel and t-shirt.  I can still picture the confused look on the old man’s face, who tapped on my window to check on me.  I can still hear the three words I shouted in anger at God as I pulled out of the parking lot “I Hate You”.  And I can still hear the thoughts echoing in my head about my unborn son, “I Don’t Want You”. 

As I said, it wasn’t a moment that I remember proudly.  My initial reactions left me feeling guilty and angry at myself.   I went home that night, kissed my sleeping daughter and changed into my pajamas.  My in-laws came over to discuss our results.  I ate cold Ramen noodles.  I had told my mother in law, “I like them cold”, when she urged me to eat them, I didn’t want to tell her that I had no desire to eat anything.  I cried some more and then went to sleep. And then it wasn’t the 21st anymore.

  

Over the following weeks and months I learned as much as I could about life with a child with Down syndrome.   I prayed.  A lot.  I forgave myself.  My love for Gabe grew bigger and bigger, just like my belly, until it felt like my tummy and heart couldn’t expand any further.  Then Gabe came and slipped seamlessly into our lives; Mommy, Daddy, Daughter and Son; our perfect family.   I like to think of the days before Gabe as the days “Before Down Syndrome”.

Those were the days before words like chromosomes, trisomy, Down syndrome, low tone, therapy, advocacy or acceptance were part of my every day vocabulary.  The days before I understood what it meant to use people first language. They were the days before I felt like I understood the meaning of true and unconditional love. The days before I had friends, best friends, that spanned the globe, before I had the confidence to stand up for my children’s needs and before I knew what it meant to take a time line, throw it out the window and be okay with it.  Those were the days before I fell in love with a blue eyed boy, before I knew how wonderful, amazing, challenging and perfect it was to have a child with Down syndrome. 

I wouldn’t give them up for anything, and even though sometimes I miss the simplicity of them, I wouldn’t give up a single day that has came After Down Syndrome either.

   


Inadequate

Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the definition of inadequate as this: “lacking in quality or quantity required; insufficient for its purpose”. I’m certain that if I were in a room full of parents and said “Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt inadequate as a parent”, there wouldn’t be a single person not raising their hand. If there were anyone in the room not raising their hand it could be due only to the fact that someone superglued them to the chair or they’re lying. I remember from the moment that expensive digital test blared the unmistakable word “pregnant” on its little grey screen, I began to question my ability to be a parent. I technically wasn’t even one yet, however there I was unsure of myself and my capabilities. But why? Why are we so unsure of ourselves as parents?

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Is it because there are sooo many choices? Cloth or disposable diapers. Homemade or jarred food. Organic or nonorganic. Breast or bottle. Strollers or slings. Co-sleep or crib. Vaccine or no vaccine. There are even choices for our choices! Pampers, Loves, Huggies…there are entire walls dedicated to varying brands of disposable diapers.

Or is it because we are bombarded by advertisers who portray parents who don’t use their products as a little less than those who do? ‘Choosey moms choose Jiff’; and what about those who like the one with the flying boy on it? Or ‘by the second one, all parents are experts’ and those experts obviously prefer one specific brand of diaper.

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Could it be our innate competitive nature to rear the best children that the world has ever seen; causes us to constantly compare ourselves to other parents, leaving questions and doubts crowding our minds. Am I doing the right thing, should I have fed him that, should I have let her wear that, will they really turn out okay if I don’t let them sleep with me, or if they do sleep with my will they be scarred for life?

Perhaps it’s all three. Or none of the above, maybe something I haven’t listed. The reason doesn’t so much matter as the fact that we do. I’ve heard countless friends and acquaintances express their uncertainty and their concern about the choices that they have made or are making for their children. Questioning their judgment. Doubting their ability based on the going ons around them. I do it myself.

I see parents when I drop off my children who are spectacularly dressed and I’m lucky to show up with pants and a shirt that I didn’t sleep in or wear to work the night before. I find myself tugging my tshirt down over my yoga pants (note I never do yoga) and glancing at my kids; inadequate. I find posts from parents who are rocking incredible homemade therapy sessions and the only thing that could pass for therapy for us that day was him trying to dig out two lost Cheerios under the couch. (I mean that’s fine motor right?); inadequate.
I see moms bent down on one knee speaking soft reasoning words to their tyrant of a toddler and I am immediately reminded of the wall shuddering bellow of “Get.Your.Daggum.Shoes.On.Your.Feet.NOW!” that shot out of my mouth not even a half an hour earlier; inadequate.

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What it boils down to is this; the more I compare myself to those around me, the more inadequate I feel. I gotta stop, we’ve gotta stop. The true judge of our ability is our children. The choices that we make for our families are OUR choices. Make them and stand by them with confidence. Instead of looking around at the other parents doing all the other things that you THINK you should be doing, look at your children. It’s easy to see that what you are doing is enough, it is sufficient, it is adequate, when you use your children as the scale by which to measure.

I know that it’s difficult not to compare, or even judge other parents, but it’s important to remember that that’s what they are; other parents. They’re making the choices for their families. Those choices may not be right for your kids, and you shouldn’t feel inadequate because of that. It’s possible that the parent you’re envying isn’t as put together as you think they are! As parents we all have a similar goal in mind; the health, happiness and well being of our families, we can’t do that if we’re consumed with self doubt.

I’m not going to let the fact that my daughter has eaten dog treats, peed in a potted plant, fed her brother his own boogers or painted him blue with stamps, make me feel like less of a parent. My daughter is incredible; she has a vocabulary that won’t quit, her creativity is inspiring and her sense of humor admirable. My son rocks; he faces whatever comes at him with “a kiss my diapered butt” grin, spreads joy to whomever he meets and challenges this family to be more than just observers of life. Hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles throughout the day confirm to me that I’m doing alright.

My children shall be my scale, not the parents around me! I’m going to move forward as a mama who is confident in her ability, attempt not to allow myself to compare my choices to others and I’m gonna wear my yoga pants proudly. I hope you’ll do the same (yoga pants not a requirement).

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