Wait for me…
I’ve never been very good at waiting. As a child, if you gave me a Christmas or birthday present before the big day, I’d be itching to know what was inside. Prodding and poking it until I’d eventually worked out exactly what was concealed. I couldn’t wait.
It was the same when pregnant with both my children. Boy or girl, I wanted to know. I didn’t need to know, I just wanted to. For no other reason than my curiosity got the better of me. I admire couples who choose not to know the gender of their unborn baby. They have a level of self-control that evades me totally.
But having had two children, both with additional needs, I have had to learn, really learn what it is to wait.
“Wait for me” is a phrase often heard in our family. My eldest child M, recently formally diagnosed with another condition – Dyspraxia (DCD), uses this phrase the most. With good reason.
You see, for her, a simple walk with family or friends means twice the effort.
What most of us able bodied do with relative ease is more challenging for her. It’s easy to overlook the work she has to put in to keep up the pace.
So she reminds us.
Wait for me.
Her friends and peers are supportive, but sometimes they, quite understandably and naturally forget; running on ahead in their excitement. Leaving her behind.
Wait for me.
Just the other weekend, we found ourselves staying in the beautiful Welsh/English border countryside with friends.
Outdoors obviously called for some exploration. Not the easiest of terrain for anyone with mobility issues! So, to see her very close (and particularly agile) friend hold back and help her negotiate a steep grassy slope, hand in hand, made my heart sing.
The friend waited.
She didn’t have to of course. No one would have blamed her for running on ahead, doing exactly what children do.
The friend valued my daughter and was prepared to put her own agenda to one side.
Valuing each other is something increasingly missing in our society. Really valuing each other I mean.
Putting the other person ahead of ourselves. Seeing their worth and valuing them for who they are, however different they may appear. Going at their pace, looking for ways to help them move forward; however much that may slow us down. Not leaving them isolated or abandoned.
The friend made a choice to value. That choice made all the difference; to my daughter, and to me.
Nearly seven years ago, when doctors told me my unborn baby might have Down’s syndrome or another condition, I chose to wait. I chose not to have invasive tests that would tell me for certain if that was the case. It wasn’t easy to wait. I won’t lie – part of the reason for not wanting to know was that I was in denial about even the possibility of having a child with Down’s syndrome. Part of me hoped that it was all a mistake and everything would be “fine” in the end.
Wait for me.
Hazel, my youngest, is now six and a half years old. She loves life and most of all she loves and values people. People like you and me. People.
I waited for her.
She arrived and our lives were undoubtedly turned upside for a while.
She patiently waited for me to come to terms with her extra chromosome.
I am eternally glad I waited for her.
Waiting for her has taught me more than anything about the priceless value of human lives. … hers, mine, yours, theirs.
I hope that women really do get a choice when it comes to the new prenatal screening tests (NIPT) being introduced across the NHS. I hope that choice actively includes supporting women choosing NOT to screen if they really don’t want to. Supporting them instead to wait. Supporting their choice, instead of pressuring them to ‘choose’ termination. There are far too many real life examples of the latter happening to women. I know, I was one of them. That’s not choice. There is another. And it’s a choice well worth making, I am certain of that.
There is real value in choosing to wait.
Wait for me.