Saturday, March 21, 2015

Welcome to Holland

I've been researching like crazy over the past couple days so I can learn everything I possibly can about dwarfism and raising a LP ("Little Person") before our son arrives.  I am so happy to say that I've already found amazing support groups with parents willing to share any and all information, events in my general area, ways to get involved, hints and tips and lots of information about all the wonderful (different, but wonderful) things that come along with being part of the LP community.  I wanted to share the below essay that got me choked up but really put things in perspective regarding our situation.

Hubs and I were definitely thrown for a loop this past week and we'll just have to see how things will turn out health-wise once our son is born but I am so relieved that, despite the challenges we are sure to face, I am feeling quite positive about our future.
   

WELCOME TO HOLLAND 

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

13 comments:

  1. I love this essay and am so happy to hear that you are finding lots of information, support networks and ways to get involved! Different from what you had planned can definitely still be absolutely wonderful! xoxoxox

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  2. Hi there. I found your blog a while ago and just caught up on everything. We lost our son jack 5 years ago after he was born with some genetic issues. Then we became pregnant again and sadly had to make some tough decisions at 22 weeks ultimately ending the pregnancy after I got an infection. Your blog resonated so much with me then and still does. I'd read and cry along feeling that you knew what I'd been through...something so few people can relate to. I read.and re read welcome to Holland many times after we found out that jack would have some significant delays.years ago. It brought me great comfort and helped me slowly wrap my mind around all the changes that were happening, and as.life.felt some days that.it was spinning out of control. I'm in NH too--cold, windy, freezing cold nh ;) and am rooting for you and your hubs and that little baby!!! Do
    Lynn

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    1. Hi Lynn, I do remember you commenting and offering support when we lost Petey last year - thank you for coming back and sharing your story. I'm so sorry for all you have been through. I'm really glad to hear you were able to feel connected to some of what I've written - that's half the reason I continue to write!! I hope you're doing well. And I hope you'll come back and read this comment because Hubs and I officially decided on a name for our son and I want to give you a heads up that we've actually decided to name him Jack. Go figure. That would be hard to be blindsided with that info just reading a subsequent post.
      I don't know what kinds of genetic issues your Jack was born with but I'd be really happy to hear more about what you went through including doctors you met with etc. since we are in the same area, if you ever feel like sharing. You can reach me at colleen424 AT gmail DOT com if you ever want to.
      Again, thanks so much for the support :-)

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  3. Oh I'm so glad to hear you're finding resources to help support you down this new road. This essay is a beautiful way to explain this experience! I hope you're able to find all the support you need to find your way around 'Holland'!

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  4. What a beautiful analogy!

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  5. This is great. I'm glad you are finding good research and resources to help you navigate these new waters.

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  6. I'm glad you're finding support and resources. I love that essay. While it's so difficult to lose the dream you had, I know you and S will love this new journey ahead of you. And I know you are and will be fantastic parents no matter what comes up.

    Also, love the name!

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  7. So happy you are finding support groups. What a wonderful essay.

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  8. So glad to know you are finding support in your area. The essay was perfect. Hoping all continues to go well as your due date arrives.

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  9. I'm so glad to hear that you're already finding a great support system. That is a great essay - thanks for sharing. Hugs and love <3

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  10. I don't comment much but just wanted to say I'm thinking of you guys. You have a tough road ahead I am sure, but you are handling it with grace and love which is what that sweet baby needs.

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  11. So perfectly written. I hope you can go back to this on your rough days and see the beauty in everything your son is and will be :)

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