On Tuesday when we got the news from our Genetic Counselor (a medical professional that’s part scientist. part social worker specifically working with families in our situation) about baby boy’s Down Syndrome, she said she’d send us a book, her favorite book, that does a good job explaining how to deal with others. Specifically, she said it was good at how to tell people about the baby and how to deal with people’s reactions or comments.
In the last 48 hours or so, I’ve told my closest friends, a few family members and a couple other select people in our life that I know would be good to tell at this stage. Every single one has been amazing. One friend said something that, on paper, could be taken the wrong way, “I’m so sorry for you guys”. I have known him my whole life and I knew exactly what he meant, the word choice didn’t even matter – he meant that he’s sorry for the emotional roller coaster we’re now on, sorry for the complete change in our life’s plan, sorry for the fact that there is now some weird situation we will have to explain to a bunch of people. There IS a lot to be sorry about right now. But I also know he wasn’t sorry that we were taking this on, still having a wonderful new baby, nor was he sorry that we were given this opportunity that he, like everyone else we’ve been telling, knows is one that only a couple as strong as us can take on. He’s said all the right things and when you care about someone and know someone as long as we have, it’s easy to get the point of someone’s statements – the actual words don’t even matter.
There will be people we don’t know, strangers, acquaintances, even some friends and family that will say the wrong thing at the wrong time and we’re going to need to be prepared to deal with that. There are a lot of people who want to say the right thing and don’t know how, or get nervous and barf up something stupid, but I will tell you now that I won’t judge any of those people because I am not sure I’d know what to say, either. All I know is that if you mean well and are coming from a loving place, then say whatever you want. The words are just words….we’ll get the point