“We got to know Tabitha first, then we got to know Down’s Syndrome.” Shawn and Naomi share the joys and challenges of taking care of their delightful Tabitha. For the second part of Tabitha’s story, click here.
Shawn & Naomi were nervous when they were expecting Tabitha
Shawn: We had had two miscarriages in 2011, so it does wear on you as a family… And I wanted to be as supportive as I could be. To go through that with Naomi was definitely difficult – the most difficult thing, I think, that we’d had to deal with, with kids. So there was a nervousness, an anxiousness, but a trust too. And that’s all we could have done. There is nothing we could have done by worrying more or less.
Naomi: And so we held Tabitha for the first time and I sort of looked up at Shawn and I was like, “her eyes…” He was like, “Ok, it’s something different.” We both kind of knew right away when we saw her, and then our doctor sat down on the bed and said, “Could I have a moment to talk to you? There are some signs that indicate Tabitha may have Down’s Syndrome.”
We felt… not complete shock. There was a sense of “God has prepared us for this,” and, “OK, take a deep breath, this is our baby.” We had her in our arms. We were snuggling with her. We were getting to know her. And then after we got to know Tabitha, we discovered she had Down’s Syndrome, and we had to get to know Down’s Syndrome. People say, “Would you have liked to have known earlier?” and we said “No.” I got to know Tabitha first, and then I got to know Down’s Syndrome. So that’s been very helpful in the process – understanding her as a person before her diagnosis.
Shawn: I think it was important for us too, you know, when you’re feeling those kicks and you feel the movements, we didn’t think of this as “This is a child with Down’s Syndrome.” It was “This is Tabitha.”
And we know that there’s really no ideal anywhere in the world. So, why should I assume that I’m going to have a perfect child? So it really helped us rethink about, you know, whatever child we have and are blessed with, we’re going to love to the best of our ability. We’re just going to love that child the way we think God wants us to love them.