Lisa Thornbury: Party Mummy


Will My Daughter With Special Needs Get to be a Mummy?

To understand my daughter will likely never become a mother guts me

daughter and mother holding hands

To understand that my daughter will likely never become a mother guts me. So I try not to think about it. But it’s hard to ignore the facts when your kid is patting your neighbour’s pregnant belly saying, “Dares a baby in dare? Awwwww. I can’t wait to see your baby. I’m going to have a baby too.” For weeks since my daughter found out this new baby was on the way, she’s been walking around with her rubber Dora ball tucked up inside her shirt, rubbing her tummy saying, “I’m going to be a mummy! I just pretending, but when I’m big I’ll have a baby, right Mummy?” 

Knowing how amazing it is to be a mother, the thought of her never getting the privilege? Well, I just can’t even. I squash those thoughts as soon as they enter my head. 

But the thoughts are harder to silence when you’re faced with them head on. As my daughter Avery waddled around the kitchen, back arched, smiling wide, telling her big brother that her baby is a girl named Little Avery, my son asked me under his breath, “Mum, CAN she have a baby? Like, do you think she will?”

He waited expectantly (pardon the pun) for an answer. I gave him one — the answer our geneticist gave us. But first let me just say, I never even asked the doctor for this information. Avery was not yet two years-old at the time and the thought never crossed my mind. At that point we were still focusing on keeping her alive. In those early days tube feedings and providing ample nourishment consumed us. When the geneticist added a casual, “And if one day is she cognitively able to consider motherhood, we’ll have to address it because obviously with her chromosome deletion she won’t be able to conceive using her eggs.” 

Hearing that, especially delivered in such a casual —after thought— no big deal kind of way, stung. 

I explained to my son that one day if Avery falls in love, gets married and wants to start a family, she would have to get some help. Since her chromosome disorder is present throughout her DNA, she would likely pass it along. But maybe in a decade or so when she's in her child rearing years there will be something that can be done scientifically to prevent that. 

“I get that,” he said. “The genetic part. But will she be able to be a mom? Will she be smart enough?” 

And gutted once again. 

But I’ve wondered the same thing. Avery has far exceeded what everyone predicted she’d be able to do. Who are we to say what she will and will not be capable of one day? We just don’t know for sure. 

But what I do know is that she’s the nicest, warmest, kindest person. This kid is all heart — she loves hugs, and helping, and animals and people, especially baby ones. If she did become a mother one day, her child would be the most loved. 

So when Avery tells me she’s going to be a mummy like me, I smile and silently tell the nagging doubting disappointed baby wah wah worries inside my head to shut up. 

If my girl can’t become a mother in the traditional sense, maybe it will happen for her in another way? She might be mama to fur babies.

Or she might find happiness working in a daycare nurturing all kinds of kids.

Or maybe she’ll fill the role of best aunt there ever was.

Or perhaps she'll adopt.

There are many ways to experience motherhood. I'm just so incredibly grateful that I get to experience it as her mom. 

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