Not One of Those Mothers

Think special-needs kids are only given to special parents? Think again.

| May - June 2008

  • Child

    image by Emily Walker, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

  • Child

I’m going to confess something.

I never thought I could do this. I never wanted to do this. I never, ever would have chosen this for me, for my one and only life, for my son’s one and only life. This? Mentally and physically handicapped? No way.

Before Thomas, my world was largely untouched by disability. I went on with my life, unaffected and unconcerned, and I never had to face my own ignorance.

Then, one beautiful June day, I was forced to face it—and the face it wore looked just like his brother’s, with round cheeks, a tiny nose, and the deepest brown eyes.


Thomas arrived three weeks early on a sunny Friday in June. We made it to the hospital with just enough time to drug me up, something for which in hindsight I am extremely grateful. Not for the pain of delivery—his birth, my second labor, was quick and almost easy—but for the heart-wrenching pain and grief that came after.

1/24/2009 1:39:38 PM

Since my son was born, I've read many many "new mother" stories. Kate Trump O'Connor's story describes perfectly how I feel about mothering my son with Down syndrome. Thank you for writing/publishing this beautiful article!