Eight months ago I had the perfect life.
Eight months ago I clutched my stomach and relished the pain that meant that I would soon hold my newest boy in my arms.
Eight months ago Austin was born with an extra chromosome and the pain that I had felt from his birth was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. I cried for my lost grandchildren, and for the boy who I thought wouldn't look like me, I cried for everything I thought I'd lost.
This place is an honest place.
I cried for me.
And then I stopped crying and started learning, and since those first few days my fears have been proven false, and my tears were spent.
And then I saw a video . A recent social experiment filmed for a major network, titled "What Would You Do?" In this episode a young actor with Down Syndrome posing as a grocery bagger is berated by several types of people to see how the public responds.
At first I watched with a smile on my face. This young man could very well be my Austin twenty years from now. I just wanted to reach through my screen, push back his stray lock of hair, and tell him how great he was. But then the "experiment" started, and when the fake insults came I thought I was prepared.
"Oh my God could you go any slower?"
"Ugh, I had to pick the retard line"
"Can you believe they hire these people?"
It when on and on and on. And every word was an arrow through my heart. And I cried.
This is an honest place.
I cried for him.
I went sobbing to bed, and as my husband rocked me back and forth I said. "It's so pointless. No matter how good he his, no matter how hard he tries, it just doesn't matter, because it won't matter to them."
I lost my hope that night. I watched Austin sleep and the despair that I felt in those first few days started to creep back. I was shaken to my very core, because no matter how far advocacy has come it's not far enough. Yes these people were actors, but this is our reality. Yes people stood up against those hurtful words, but those words are still used so often. And I can't protect my baby.
Sometimes this mountain that we're climbing seems so high. I know we will get there. I know that my hope will come back, because I believe in Austin, and I believe in humanity, and I will raise him to know, as one women on the video so eloquently put it, that "people with the biggest disabilities are most often the ones you can't see."