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Here We Are, Happy (in progress)

As long as the baby is healthy, they tell you. But what if they’re not? Wherein lies the value of a life, of my daughter’s life? What does it mean to have a cognitive impairment in a society that values quick wits, and mental prowess above all else? What does it truly mean to be human?

With one baby in tow already, and another on the way, I was on a break from teaching, and deeply immersed in the joys of motherhood. Up to this point, I lead a storybook life. My husband and I met walking our dogs in university. He was working towards his PhD, while I was entering teacher’s college. Cotton-candy clouds blotted the blue sky on our wedding day. Our lives were golden. Young, trim, and tanned, there was no way we could possibly conceive a baby with Down syndrome. I rode the highest of horses. It was okay for someone else to have a baby with Down syndrome, but not us. Not me.

From the emotionally real, gut-wrenching, sense of loss and grief experienced as a young mother receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, to heeding the social worker’s advice, who granted us permission to grieve the loss of the typical baby we were expecting, Here We Are, Happy is a memoir about a mother’s passage to acceptance, with the greatest journey, by far, being the one from her head to her heart. Ultimately, this is a story of unconditional love conquering fear, and what it means to be imperfectly human as we all are.

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