This is a difficult post for me to write. Mostly because it's so challenging for me to summon the words to articulate what I feel. But let me give it a shot…
One of the things that really struck me in Expecting Adam was how very free the mother was at the end. Instead of being tied down to a job, to whatever, she became freer than free. Like a bird that finally looked down and realized that its wings were for flying.
I wondered a lot about that.
It seemed to me that if you had a kid with Ds, you would need to be centered. Focused. More responsible than you ever were. Stable, with a capital 'S'.
But now… I get it. It's not that you don't care about stability anymore. Or responsibility. Or focus. It's that you trust the Universe more. You trust God. You face what you think you can't, what you are terrified of. When you make it through it, you see the stars alight in the sky and realize that you, too, are a part of that beauty. Like a birth – being held in, tight in a womb brimming with fear, then traveling down a passage so dark and awash with despair you thought you'd die. Then, OUT – free! And you see there was nothing, nothing at all to be afraid of.
Beauty surrounding and within. A universe that we were all meant to be a part of. Fear doesn't have much of a role in it.
What am I scared of? What people say? Think?
That can't be it.I rather think I'm more over that than not.
I started getting over that a long, long time ago – first when I was a kid with deep, red scars all over my face. And then the coke bottle glasses. Then the being white in a black country. Then the hearing aids…. it goes on and on. Culminating, of course, in my biggest fear regarding children: having one with an extra chromosome.
Now, that's gone. I faced that. I have a child with an extra chromosome and it's nothing like I thought it would be. She's all that is good and wondrous. So I'm left only with a fear of being poor. As poor as I've been in the past. I'm also afraid of going through hell again to find a job.
That's it. Those two biggies, up against not a fear but a feeling – the depression that consumes me when I sit in the office, away from my children.
And the root of that is that I waited so many years for this day, the day that I have these beautiful children (and husband). I waited my whole life for this moment, and now this moment is holed up in an office? How can this be? I'm supposed to be with these people that I brought into the world. I'm supposed to be teaching, guiding, loving, disciplining and mothering them. They are my first priority..
Still, there are bills. So I've tried to cut back on hours, stay at my job, reach a compromise. And it's not working. It's either all or nothing for my boss. I can't do the all at the expense of my own happiness and sanity – and at the expense of what I truly feel is best for my babies.
The time has come for me to face my fear. Trust in the unknown, let the Universe catch me. Know that it's going to be okay, really. It will. I'll leave the office, find something else that will let me be at home more. Or not, and just eat a whole lot more beans.
I've given notice. October 31st will be my last day.
I'm opening up, falling back, and know that I'm going to be caught.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.