When Motherhood Reality Differs From the Dream

Motherhood is something I began dreaming of as a young girl. I laid in a tall, grass field with pigtails in my hair and dandelion petals falling on my dusty purple dress while thinking of how someday my mini-me, carefree daughter would twirl in her own dress in a field of flowers. But what happens when your dream fizzles into reality?

I had a plan to be married and soon after have one son and one daughter. It seemed to be society’s norm and therefore the perfect plan. My first child came five years after marriage. He was a beautiful healthy little boy, and though he came later than I had dreamed, he was perfect.

A few years later, my husband and I decided to try and grow our little family. Month after month I was disappointed when pregnancy did not come. I wondered what was wrong with me. What had I done to cause this disappointment? I went to see a doctor who put me on medication that would increase our chances of having another baby. The disappointment continued. Eventually, my husband and I were referred to a fertility clinic. This was definitely NOT a part of my dream. I was terrified of needles, yet I stabbed myself with them daily, hoping and praying that the medication would work. It didn’t. Eventually, we decided to try IVF. It took time to save the money required. There were more needles, bigger needles. But the day finally came when the doctor held that wand covered with cold goop and said, “there are your babies!”

That’s right. I was pregnant with twins! One boy. One girl. My first son was seven years old when we relocated two hours away to deliver the twins at a children’s hospital. One twin was thought to have a life threatening birth defect. This was not my dream. Still, I found myself in an operating room with dozens of medical staff rushing about to ensure my babies were born as safe and healthy as possible. Baby A came first, a boy. He was completely healthy and laid on my chest. I was thankful to feel his tiny body and fresh skin on mine. At the same time my heart beat rapidly in anxiety as I waited for the announcement of baby B, my little girl. 

One minute later she was raised above the sheet briefly before being rushed out of the room and checked over thoroughly. Doctors confirmed that she did have a birth defect of her esophagus and would require a lengthy hospital stay and surgery to correct it. This was not my dream. Twenty four hours later, my husband arrived in my maternity suite with a new set of doctors who would tell me that my daughter had three more birth defects affecting her heart. Not my dream. Seven days later, a geneticist sat in my daughter’s hospital room and delivered the news that our daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Not my dream. 

Fear filled my head. You see, I had a dream of a perfectly healthy little girl who would have a carefree life full of happiness. Instead, my daughter was born with more complications than many of us face in a lifetime. At first, I was angry, depressed, scared. Why my daughter? How would she learn? Would she dance? Would she be loved by others? Would she be happy? My dream fizzled out into a reality of fog. It wasn’t fair. Life wasn’t fair. My parents always told me that growing up. It was starting to sink in.

I was faced with a challenge of mothering a child who was very sick. I didn’t know how to be this type of mom. What I did know was that I was going to be the best mom possible. I took a deep breath and began to listen to the doctors and nurses. They taught me how to care for my daughter. As the days passed by I noticed her smile. She was happy. She loved music. She learned at her own pace and even began to dance while sitting up. That’s when I realized that dreams do come true even if they look a little different than what was in our heads. 

I want to share something with you that I hope can help you through the days when it seems your dream is fizzling out. My daughter was 18 months old when she passed away from complications of a birth defect. Initially, I sat back and allowed my disappointment over lost dreams to get in the way of the blessing she was in my life.

Don’t allow this to happen to you. Don’t allow what you view as a lost dream to prevent you from seeing the blessings you have and  living the life you are in. Because the reality is… dreams are great to have but life is what we are living for.

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