“My daughter was born three weeks ago with Down Syndrome” | A Mother’s Journey, part 17

Note: The following two entries in my mom’s journal are hard. They’re sketchings from the road, not perfect prose written from comfort. Please be sure to read both…

Jonathan Trotter

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February, 1993

My daughter was born 3 weeks ago with Down Syndrome. I can’t write about it yet. It’s too fresh — it hurts so bad inside. I can’t believe we’ve experienced this twice — sticky chromosomes!

Wondered if Elisabeth Elliot ever cried out, “Again?!” I have to go through this pain and grief again?! Please God, NO! I don’t want to! Teach someone else — haven’t I learned the lessons I was supposed to learn? Have I been that stubborn?

Whatever.

I need to read Job. I’m not asking for answers. I do need comforting. I feel so fragile, so scared. I feel like I have to have this fake front — so everyone else will be OK — Mark, the kids, everyone.

It’s like,

“Someone took a knife, edgy and dull, and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul.” — Bruce Springsteen

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July, 1993

Now it’s been six months, and tears are still streaming down my face as I read the last entry. I’ve read this whole book and here I am again in God’s waiting room. My daughter is precious, gentle, sweet.

I thought today how easy it will be for her to be Christlike. In fact, the words he uses to describe himself are “mild and lowly” and I thought of all the words to describe Downs — loving, trusting, gentle — all synonyms for Jesus.

And I’m ashamed that I am so sad about her not being what I wanted. Twice when I wrote out prayer requests I could not write “healthy” baby; just “baby.”

It was like I felt God might want to show us another “gift” and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for what might be God’s best for our family. However I felt like I’d been hit hard — slapped down.

And then a guy at church says, “Are you going to risk it again?” As if we were going to Las Vegas!

 

A Mother’s Journey: Table of Contents

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When Strongholds Fall | A Mother’s Journey, part 16

April 13, 1992

Fourteen months have passed. I’m within six pounds of my target weight. I went to Nutri-system. For the most part I’ve not felt deprived — in fact I’ve felt so much better — low sodium, low fat.

A stronghold is something Satan says is impossible that God never said was impossible. I had let this become a stronghold in my life. I feel so sad because I feel like it kept me from wanting to be pregnant and have more children. I think that was Satan’s aim. Finally, I asked God what He wanted me to weigh. What was his plan for my body? Was it possible to have another baby? So far, no baby. But God has shown me that weight loss is a possibility — something I had denied.

Denial, what a huge word that keeps us from the truth about ourselves. I’m still shocked when I see pictures of myself — somehow I don’t ever picture myself that fat! I carry around an image a thinner me, even when the facts aren’t so! I pray that this month, April, I’ll see my goal. As I’ve gotten closer to my goal I’ve gotten lax about my eating, almost as though I’m scared to reach my goal. What will I concentrate on then? Where will all my guilt go? The feelings I’ve felt since I was 13, where will they go? The “I’m fat — I need to be on a diet” thoughts.

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I have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight all these years with discipline (unsuccessfully!). But by obedience, it has been possible. What a revelation! I’ve always felt a need to live a disciplined life, but a frustration about how to do it. But obedience? That’s different; I can do that.

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November 10, 1992

I got pregnant two weeks after the last entry. I wonder if God was using that time to teach me something. We had tried for 11 months and I really thought it wouldn’t happen again. I’m gaining weight as usual, but I don’t feel any despair about it. I know it will come off quickly after the baby is born. I’m confident that I can diet — aha! No more strongholds. Hallelujah!

A Mother’s Journey — table of contents