Six years ago Jordan came into our world and changed our perspective on what it’s like to raise a little girl. I’ve said this many times, but I’ll repeat it again. I asked the doctors if Jordan was okay after we discovered she was born with one hand… I looked up into Randy’s eyes and we both repeated that fact: “She’s going to be okay.” We both immediately knew this was true. I had more complications than Jordan did in the time after her birth.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry in the months after she was born.
She was the most beautiful baby from the moment she was born. People were drawn to her bright and beautiful eyes. I worried they would look away from her sweet face to gasp or say something rude about Jordan’s limb difference. I was jumpy and sensitive for her first six or seven weeks of life. Then I struggled for weeks after that trying to stop looking for people staring. I focused on my family and lived the life we live to show the staring people (if there are any, I honestly don’t look any more) that we are just like any other family.
I wish I could have told myself to let it go sooner.
If I was a new mom to a limb different baby, here are five things I wish I knew immediately after Jordan was born.
1. It’s okay to be sad. We all have an image of what our child will be like when he or she is born. We’re allowed to be sad.
2. Don’t let the sad run your life. Take the time to enjoy your sweet baby. The cuddly phase goes so fast. It’s the best… even if you’re sleep deprived.
3. Stop reading books and websites that tell you when standard developmental milestones take place. Your baby might hit those milestones differently. Also, he or she might come up with a way to meet those milestones differently. Make sure you have a team behind you: pediatrician, occupational therapist and physical therapist.
4. Reach out to the limb different community. It’s getting easier and easier to communicate with people online but the most powerful experiences are meeting other limb different kids and their families. Our first meeting was when Jordan was 32 weeks old. We haven’t stopped meeting with families since!
5. Answer questions honestly and in a positive way. The way you respond to questions in public teaches your child how to respond when he or she grows up.
I’m so proud of Jordan and how she’s growing like any other kid. She’s so excited for her birthday party later today.