So am I a jealous person? Yes. Wow I admitted it. I'm Shanna and I have jealousy issues stemming from my childhood but now they apply to my life with Seth. The stemming from the childhood thing is a long story, basically two of my siblings were/are the golden children and guess what? I'm not one of them!!!
So with Seth I get jealous over other peoples kids. Let me explain because I'm sure that sounds horrific. I envy the "normal" pregnancy, the "normal" birth experience. I feel like I was robbed with my pregnancy. I found out at 21 weeks that Seth had Down Syndrome and it made my pregnancy into a big waiting game full of doctors appointments and lab tests and . . . . just ugh. I was also crying every time someone mentioned my baby. I couldn't talk about Down Syndrome for a long time to people.
And the ignorance I had to deal with. The stupid questions, the "I'm sorry's", the pitiful looks and comments made under breaths. Yes I knew Seth had Down Syndrome, yes I chose to continue MY pregnancy, NO I don't believe in termination (for myself), no I will not put him up for adoption, no he doesn't belong "in a place". Why do I have to discuss my choices of what will happen with MY child to the world?? Is it really your business???? WTH is wrong with people??
Sorry that little rant is over. But that is what I had to deal with. Oh and the infamous "Will he look normal?" Yeah that was a doozy from a relative . . . one that I will never forgive and never forget. "Will he look normal?" How about asking if he is healthy or has a heart problem or needs surgery or will survive to make it out of me? How about asking real questions instead of vain, stupid, selfish ones. NO he won't look normal. . . he will look like a person with Down Syndrome and I don't care because that person is my son.
And now that Seth is growing up . . . well now the comparison game comes into play. Why is he not doing this? Why are other kids his age doing that? Why isn't he walking/talking/writing/reading/jumping/playing? Why are so many people around me pregnant with "typical" babies? It's not fair!! Why do I have to work so hard for Seth to do small things and other parents work so little for their kids and their kids are still doing well? Why do I feel like something was wrong with me for having a child with DS? Why can't I be happy with what I was given? Why do I question everything?
Why, why, why?? Why me? That's a big one. Why me and not some other mother, some other mother who was older perhaps (no offense to older moms of kids with DS, this was my thought process at a certain time). I was young, I was a good person, I deserved a "normal" kid. Why me? Why not the 16 year old girl who was far too young to have a child? Hmmm?
I don't know why but I would like to think it's because I'm capable. Yep I'm able. I'm able to help Seth reach his full potential and become a fully functioning adult. I'm not super religious woman, but maybe God saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. Strength. Super duper strength. Seth has improved me as a person. I'm ten times the person I was before he was born. I grew up, I matured, I learned to fight for him, even when I wouldn't fight for myself. (We can rebuild her, we can make her stronger!)
The why days come fewer and far between but the jealousy. . . I don't know if that ever goes away. For the first two years I wouldn't want to hear about how other children in the family were progressing because it bothered me. It really got under my skin.
I also think it has to do with the fact that Seth is my first and (perhaps forever) only child. He's my only and I have to learn everything new. They don't make a handbook for my child. What to Expect When your Expecting is shit when you have a child with any special need. It's fucking bullshit. What to Expect When You Are Crying Because Your Unborn Child Has Down Syndrome and You Need Support and Don't Know What to Do and You Can't Stop Grieving and You Really Hate People at This Moment in Time - now that's the fuckin book for me. There's a book I needed to read.
Jealousy is a very messy sort of emotion. You can't help it but you feel this immense guilt over feeling jealous. Like what you have isn't good enough or important enough. So I forever reminded of this little detail, that what you have is good enough by this lyric courtesy of Rachel Coleman:
If you have what you need
forget what you want
We don’t have it all
But I know we’ve got
We’ve got la la la la love
We’ve got la la la la love
We’ve got la la la la
La la la la la
La la la la la love
Love we have in excess. So, while the green-eyed monster may come out to play once in a while, I'm going to look at Seth's face, his hands signing "I love you" and I'm going to tell that monster to fuck off and die.