Alone for the First Time

**To catch up on this Flashback Series, click the link at the top of the page**

Before She knew it, Monday morning came. He was student teaching and had to go back to work. She was going to be alone with Baby Girl for the first time since she was born 6 days earlier. She was still reeling from the diagnosis, let alone just learning how to be a Mom. But She could do it. He felt terrible that He had to leave; He didn’t want to go and leave his new baby or leave Her alone. But He had to.

The day before her father-in-law had stopped by with all the information he could find on the internet at the library. He was thrilled to be able to tell them that there was an 80-year-old woman in Australia with Cri du Chat. Apparently one could live longer than a year. Interesting. The doctor didn’t know everything apparently.

She was so unsure of what to do. She had this little girl with this syndrome and She knew Baby Girl would need extra help…but what should She do? The doctor hadn’t told her anything and this was completely uncharted territory and She surely did not know how to navigate it. Her Mom happened to have a friend whose son had Down Syndrome; Mom called her to see what she could find out. This angel of a woman told Mom to have Her call the local board of mental retardation first. They would be able to help Her navigate.

As soon as the clocked turned to 9 on that first alone morning, She called the board of mental retardation. She didn’t even know exactly what to say. When the woman on the other end answered, She just began to cry and tell Baby Girl’s story. The woman was so kind; she told Her she was brave and strong for calling so soon after Baby Girl’s diagnosis. They scheduled an appointment for Baby Girl to be evaluated in 4 weeks; until then, the woman encouraged Her to find support groups and to try to contact the national society for Baby Girl’s syndrome. With a plan, She felt slightly better. A little.

As the day went on, She fielded calls from well-wishers and extended family. She managed to get through them all; for some reason She couldn’t tell. She couldn’t get the words out to tell all of these people that there was something wrong with Baby Girl. They wouldn’t come out of Her mouth. So She faked Her way through the phone calls and pretended as if everything was ok.

Later in the day when Baby Girl finally slept, She decided to brave the internet. It was 2001 so the internet was still fairly new, but there was still quite a bit of information out there. She searched for Cri du Chat. The first website that came up was written by a woman who had given her baby up for adoption after finding out the baby had the syndrome. The woman felt guilty but was sure that this was the right decision because she couldn’t possibly raise a baby with such severe needs. That was not was this woman signed up for in life.

The second website she clicked on was about a little boy with the syndrome. He wore a helmet; he couldn’t do much; his Mom went on and on about all of the things he couldn’t do; she also included many details about his inability to eat and how he would bang his head against the wall all day long.

She lost it. She started sobbing uncontrollably. She dialed Mom.

“I can’t do it. I can’t be Baby Girl’s Mom. I can’t. I’m not strong enough. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” She said.

“I’ll be right there,” Mom said.

Mom came right over after taking the afternoon off from work; Mom held Her while She cried and helped with Baby Girl and tried to assure Her that She could indeed be Baby Girl’s mom. She could do it. She had to.

That day, She decided that if there was ever a time when She felt better and stronger, She would make a website of some kind. She had no idea how anyone made a website but someday She would figure it out. At that moment She knew that someone had to put some positive information out there. This journey couldn’t possibly be all negative. There was, after all, a Baby Girl here on this Earth who was beautiful and who was loved. That was positive and that would be what She would write about someday.

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13 responses to “Alone for the First Time

  1. It’s the first thing I noticed about you when I first came upon your site – your optimism and your positive outlook.

  2. Tiffany, thanks for all the positive you put into the world. You are a shining light.

  3. Thanks for finding the strength to be strong and change your “can’t” to CAN! You are a fine example!

  4. I still can’t get over the doctor sending you home with no information. Nowhere to turn.

    You did so well on your own.

  5. They best part of your postive is that it is 100% honest. You can tell me all the postive, silver lining garbage you want, but I can smell a fluffy story a mile a way. I love that along with the good stuff you share the icky stuff. Its like most any family if you think about it. My oldest son was a total piece of cake but if I’m honest he’s been a turkey too and has done some major disgusting make me wonder why I signed up for this mother hood thing kinda stuff. It think the best part of the honesty is that we take it all as a package deal the great stuff far out numbers the icky days.

    As always thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  6. And that is exactly what you have done so beautifully!

  7. Fantastic once again! Just think of that person out there, in need of info who stumbles on your site – how wonderful for them to find you!

  8. I think the first thing every parent does when receiving a diagnosis of any kind for their child is read up on all the things that “can’t be”. Can’t walk. Can’t talk. Can’t eat. I got caught up in that too. In fact, I was so stunned by all that I originally read, that was all I could focus on for weeks. And, yet, here was this tiny little being who still needed to be fed and changed and loved just like all babies at that age needed!

    So, one day, I decided to look at my baby right where he was at, at that very moment, on that very day. And I did that the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, and so on. Basically, if there is any advice I can give a new parent beginning in this journey it’s that you need to look at your child and be with your child as they are on any particular day. While tomorrow might be in the back of your mind, it’s just too much to absorb in a day. We cannot take all of the tomorrows in in just 24 hours.

    And, eventually, we will all find that in that moment, our babies/children ARE doing this, or that, and the other, even if at their own pace, in their own way! My child doesn’t speak yet, but I don’t realize that until we’re reminded of it because we communicate with one another as though he does!!!!

    There is nothing like this moment, and I wish someone had told me that on that first day when I felt like I was handed a death-sentence. People in the medical profession need to understand that a mother doesn’t believe in “can’t”, and we should never be made to feel that way! No one knows what can and WILL be.

    Your mother’s words are the words that all mothers need to hear right after a diagnosis.

  9. I was thinking exactly the same thing as Knowledge Safari. You may never know the extent of the lives you’ve touched with your spirit and outlook on Cri du Chat, but I’m sure you’ve soothed the broken hearts of many parents out there.

  10. Hey Tiff,

    Thanks for sharing once again. I love your brand of therapy 😉

  11. “Your mother’s words are the words that all mothers need to hear right after a diagnosis.”

    Exactly!

    I cried thru this post, too. You brought me back to that moment in time. I am so grateful that you did start this blog.

    Now, write that book!

  12. You and Olivia have touched so many lives. Now when someone turns to the internet searching for that help that you needed, they will find you. I can’t think of anything better.

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