Everyone has dreams–and rarely do they ever go exactly as planned (if ever!). And that’s OK, of course, although it doesn’t make the deviations necessarily easier to handle. For one mom whose daughter was born with Down Syndrome, this was the case. She bravely opened up in a raw and honest speech, which as since made its rounds on the internet.
Back in 2015, comedian Bethany Van Delft was featured at The Moth, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to storytelling, to share her story of having a child with Down syndrome. While she loves her daughter, Lulu, she explains that she wasn’t prepared for what happened when her daughter was born. The story was shared online again recently at The Scene, a site focused on videos for women. The video has been watched over 1 million times–which shows how many moms relate.
In her 15-minute story, Van Delft said she had a “perfect pregnancy,” often feeling that “rush of love that new mothers talk about.” Then, when her daughter was born, her doctors diagnosed her daughter with Down syndrome–and it was hard for her to accept at first, a reality many moms find hard to admit:
“That first few weeks is just a blur of tears and forms and doctors’ appointments and lists I made of all the things that were never going to happen now and all the things that she would never do.
I slept on the couch with her for months with her skin on my skin so she could feel loved, but every time I looked at her all I thought was, ‘Where is my baby? Whose baby is this? When do I get to see my baby?’”
Of course, Van Delft eventually realized that while she initially felt she wasn’t “cut out to be this kind of mother,” she actually was. And in reality, her parenting struggles weren’t all that different from others:
“Once I stopped fearing being this kind of mom I realized that all moms cry a lot, all moms doubt their ability to raise this child, all moms worry about the future.”
Her honesty is so necessary, because many moms often feel as if they can’t open up about their feelings, as if they will be seen as bad mothers who don’t love their children as much as they should. And that’s not something moms should be made to feel, because we’re all human and have complicated, complex emotions–and that’s perfectly OK.
This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.