We're excited to bring you a new post from mother and actress Tori Spelling! Every other week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle advice from ediTORIal by Tori Spelling, which is Tori's daily blog about everything from food and fashion to parenting and relationships. This week, Tori shares her friend's experience raising a child with Down Syndrome.
Today I am grateful and honored to bring you a second guest blog from my friend Lisa. As you may remember, her son Blake was born with Down Syndrome, so in honor of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Lisa has so generously shared the next part of her journey with us. The lessons that she has learned over the past year are not limited to those who might have children with special needs. Everything that Lisa has experienced is something that all of us can relate to, and the deeper understanding of motherhood that she can lay claim to I truly admire. Take it away, Lisa . . .
Sometimes in life you have to experience things as opposed to relying on words, opinions, or "facts" to get the picture. Growing up, I was always one who had to "learn the hard way" and suffer the consequences of my actions to get the lessons, and I am grateful that this is still the case. A little boy named Blake rocked my world May 13, 2011, when he was born with Down Syndrome (Read our full story here). The last 17 months have literally transformed me as a person and a mother. Not only was I blessed with a baby boy who has a "little something extra" in the chromosome department; I have also become part of an amazing community whose foundation is built on the principals of Support, Inclusion, Respect, and Love. I feel the true key to change is education and information, and in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I would like to share five things I have learned in the last year about being a mother of a child with Down Syndrome.
- It's All Relative: I naturally found myself playing the comparison game between my son and daughter. I think I naturally felt the urge to compare as I saw/felt no difference between my two children, as I remember Kaleigh doing all the things I witness Blake do. An example of a comparison was teething patterns/time; my daughter got her first teeth at 4 months and Blake at 10 months. At first I could not help making comparisons and have recently realized that it is all relative and incomparable. Each child will reach milestones on their own timeline and do their own thing.
- Great Expectations: If you want to set yourself up to fail, getting caught up in your own expectations is a good way to go. I have had to curb my natural expectations in all situations when it comes to my son's development (and my daughter's, too). I would find myself frustrated or disappointed when he/she did not meet the expectations I had. I guess it was just my natural instinct as a mother (and a human being) to have such expectations for my children. I have learned to take a step back and realize that my expectations are irrelevant to my children's lives, and I need to enjoy them each day, expectations aside.