Saturday, August 18, 2012

How long is the grieving period?

I would be very interested to hear the thoughts of other mothers of children (or adults) with Down syndrome on this subject:  How long is the average time, in your experience and/or people you know, that a new mom grieves when she finds out her baby has Down syndrome?  There have been several things that have caused me to think about this.  A friend and I were discussing this today because of something we'd read. 

Last summer, our DS group was searching for a book to add to our bags given to new parents.  I read three books written by mothers of children with Down syndrome, hoping to find the one I would have wanted to read soon after the time Jessie was born. I've read other things since and now all the stories are mixed together in my head :)  While I can't remember the individual stories, I remember being struck by how long (for some) the grieving seemed to last.  Why does this matter to me?  Well, first, this kind of thing tends to roll around in my mind and be over-analyzed anyway.  Second, it affects how I might respond to new mothers in the future. And, it will help us decide what book to include in our new parent bags.

Two of my closest friends are mothers of children with Down syndrome.  For each of the three of us, the time of true grieving, feeling completely overwhelmed with -what-in the-world-am -I going-to-do-with-this-information, was short.  It was a painful, uncertain time, filled with rational and irrational fears, but the time it lasted was short. We continued (and still continue) to experience painful realizations that hurt for a moment, or a day, or a week, but never past that initial time would I describe feeling overwhelmed with grief or fear. 

I would be very interested in your recommendations of what books you've read that would be what you would want to read in that early period.  Currently, our new parent bags include:  Babies with Down Syndrome, a notebook of stories of our local families including pictures, a burp cloth printed with "I am wonderfully made" and another's the last book that we're uncertain of what it should be.  It's been a couple of different books in the past and we haven't settled on what it will be now.

Although I haven't posted here in forever, I hope I will hear from some of you :)