She was tiny, frail and unable to meet any of her developmental milestones. I knew her biological mom had used every drug imaginable during her pregnancy. Nevertheless, the neurologist’s diagnosis cut through me. Our adopted daughter would struggle through life with brain damage.
Two years later, another uninvited diagnosis forced its way into my world. It came from a high-risk pregnancy doctor that rushed into the room after a longer than normal ultrasound. He dug the ultrasound wand into my swollen belly while still chewing his half eaten lunch, “Absent bladder…hernia…heart on the wrong side. Most likely Trisomy 18. The pregnancy needs to be terminated.”
One month later, while carrying my child still safely in my womb, I found myself rushing my six year old to the hospital. As I bent over her, spilling tears on her face, the next diagnosis came from the attending doctor. Our daughter would live the rest of her life struggling with the hardships of Juvenile Diabetes.
I don’t know about you, but when I was a child I never grew up dreaming about having children with life long special needs. Now, as a grown woman, I am caring for a developmentally disabled child, have a broken heart from a child that has passed away, and care for a child with medical issues. What do we do when life places us in such a foreign reality?
First, we need to know it is fine to cry. The Psalms give us excellent examples of how to grieve well. They start with crying out to God, asking why, and give us the freedom to have real, raw emotion. Psalm 102 gives us a great snapshot of this. We should be able to go to God with our sorrow open and honestly. Just as importantly, we should always fill our cries with prayers of thanksgiving and remembering who God is. Jonah’s Prayer in Jonah chapter 2 is another excellent passage to meditate on during our grieving, and certainly helped me through the extra hard days.
The second thing that has enabled me to press on is to know who Christ is. When my world was so rapidly unraveling, I had to find solid footing. The ONLY place to find tangible help is in the word of God. In His word, I was able to find peace and know that He is in complete control.
Lastly, God has given me a Christ-like friend whose children also have unique needs. We are able to understand each other and encourage each other on a daily basis. A friend who is in a similar circumstance is an enormous blessing! We are able to laugh together, cry together and be honest with our feelings.
Have you found yourself parenting in a hard situation? Press on, dear mom!! Our blog is here for you! Our desire is to encourage you and let you know you are not on this road alone, no matter what the uninvited diagnosis may be.
By Tara Dovenbarger