When I first found out that my daughter Ellie was born with Down syndrome, I was shattered. I was certain that the plans my dear friend Jess and I made for our two little girls would never come to fruition. I was certain, that our own friendship would be greatly affected. I could not have been more wrong.
Jessica and I were pregnant together.
Actually, we met in the 3rd grade in a Catholic school in St.Louis. We even followed each other to highschool and although we went our separate ways come college, we remainded friends and united again in The Lone Star State. I actually married the best man in their wedding. We both ended up in Texas (her by way of Tucson and me by way of Philadelphia) thanks to the wonderful men in our lives.
In the scorching summer heat of 2009, Jess and I were both extremely pregnant. Jess with her second child and me with my first. When we found out that we were both having girls, we started making elaborate plans for our daughters. Of course they would be best friends. Of course they would grow up together and discuss boys on the telephone. Obviously they would be in each other weddings. We imagined our two girls like peas in a pod. Friends, just like me and Jess.
When Ellie was born, Jess' little Grace was only 6 weeks old. With my daughter's postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, I thought I watched those dreams shrivel up and disintegrate. To be perfectly honest, I felt a surge of jealousy. Why my daughter? Why did Jess get two "perfect" kids?
This was all a part of the grief process-those stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. No, it is not that I didn't love my beautiful, strong, PERFECT Ellie, 47 chromosomes and all. It was fear. Fear of the unknown and mourning for that “dream” child I imagined I was going to have. The child that never existed. Ellie is everything and she was all these things the minute she was conceived inside of me. Yet, the grief process was in full swing.
It was Jessica I called soon after I received Ellie's diagnosis. I was sobbing into the phone and saying that I needed her. She did what any good friend would do--left her post-natal OB appointment with her 6 week-old baby in tow, brought good tissues infused with aloe, and cupcakes. I admitted my anger and jealousy towards her and I felt horrible. I am sorry I ever felt that let alone said that. Witness Jess sitting in that chair in my hospital room, I realized that she too understood that our dreams for our girls might indeed have a different reality. Not bad, just different.
Oh yes, our girls will grow up together. They will play together and be a part of each other lives. Perhaps, even one day, they will be in each others’ weddings. Who knows?
I know that the journey Ellie and I are traveling on is full of triumphs and obstacles, BUT I also know that everyone’s journey, including Jess’ ,has those windy twists and turns.
It brings such joy to watch Grant, Grace, and Ellie all play together, be together, and of course, steal each other toys. Jess has taught me that a good friendship can withstand anything while Ellie has taught me about love and patience, as well as motivation, determination, and hard work.
Thank you Jess, for everything.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.