When I unexpectedly, surprisingly became pregnant with Seth I didn't prepare for my SO to be so great about being a dad. I also didn't expect for him to be such a wonderful father of a child with special needs. I can't say I know what went through his mind when he heard "Down Syndrome" but I can say that he responded, while feeling lost and scared, with love and in a positive (well as positive as can be in that situation) manner.
I received the news of Seth's diagnosis over the phone. Horrible way to receive news that your child has a genetic abnormality but that's the truth of it. My head was in a cloud. I called my SO at work, he forgot his cell at home, he didn't call me back until about an hour or two later. Those two hours were agony. How was I going to tell this person, this person that I love so much, that our child has DS? I told him in the most simple terms, "the amnio was positive". Those words hurt a lot. I was telling a father that his child, his first son, wasn't the most perfect being in the world.
I hate to say it but it is a blow to the parents ego when they find out their child has Down Syndrome. If their is one thing that my SO and I pride ourselves on it is our intelligence and automatically hearing the words "Down Syndrome" makes you feel like your child will not be smart and will not be able to function. I remember talking to my SO and him saying something along the lines of: "I'm afraid he will never have a smart conversation with me about technology or Star Wars or anything that we are interested in." We have had many similar conversations since, except instead of saying that we were scared, we are now saying "wow did you see what Seth just said to us?" It's an awesome change. It's amazing to see where we came from. I sometimes forget the dark times, the really dark times in Seth's diagnosis because I have the child, I have this amazing child that I feel can do anything and has shown me so much.
So onto that night. My SO shows up and I'm hysterical once I see him. I break down in his arms completely. And he just said, very simply, "I've thought about this all day and on the ride home from work. Seth (we had already picked out his name) is my son and I love him, no matter what." WOW, just wow. I expected anger, I expected sadness, I never expected acceptance so early, so simply. I can honestly say that I have been with my SO for six years at this point and never felt the amount of love I did for him until that moment. It was overwhelming.
From that day forward we made it our mission to learn as much about DS as possible. It was hard, the information hurt, but the information also gave us a sense of security. We like to know what we are up against, we love to be informed. So we armed ourselves the only way we knew how, we armed ourselves with knowledge. And we keep doing that to this day as Seth and his various needs change.
I remember asking my SO when I first became pregnant "What are we going to do?" His answer? "Duh, we are going to have a baby." I remember asking him the same after the diagnosis. His answer again? "Duh we are going to have a baby, doesn't matter if he has Down Syndrome." I don't think there is a more perfect answer for that question.
As a father my SO has gone above and beyond. He has learned ASL. He has learned patience. If you knew him you would know that that in itself is an incredible feat. He has learned acceptance. He has also learned how to be an advocate for our son. Like I said before in this blog, we are not psycho advocates, we just advocate when the chance arises.
Above all he is so incredibly proud of Seth. His whole face lights up when he sees Seth accomplish something new or say something out of the blue. He signs "I love you" to Seth and Seth's face breaks out into a smile and signs it right back. It's an amazing sight. I love my two men.