Week 10 of #TWmemorymondays features a guest to the series! It is my dear friend Angela Ochoa @sieteochoa! Angela and Tony have three amazing daughters, and their love and intentionality for them is so inspiring to me. This short essay Angela shared with me about her youngest daughter, Robin. You're going to cry - it's so good. ❤️
In many ways I just want to say goodbye to this calendar year and block it out of my memory. I was really on the fence about trying to get pregnant this time at all; I was finally getting the hang of having two kids while living overseas, work was great, there was relative predictability within each week. I didn’t know how another child would fit into that comforting picture.
We came to America for Robin’s birth to be close to family. She was born in April, at home and accidentally briefly unassisted. In those few moments before our midwife arrived while I was in a post-delivery high, Tony said, “Angela, her eyes look small.”
“She doesn’t have Down syndrome,” my mother stated matter-of-factly when she came to visit the next morning. “It’s ok if she does,” I blurted out. My defense was automatic - I don’t think I believed it - but I needed to say it.
Sleepless nights followed in the NICU. I wondered if we had wasted the name we picked out for our third child. (I hate that I ever thought that, even if it was just passing.) We realized quickly that we would need to change occupations and move back to America permanently. I was angry that Robin had taken my dream job away from me. I was disappointed that Robin wasn’t the baby I thought she was going to be. These feelings clashed hard and strong with my exhaustion, guilt, and persistent desire to be holding the tiny girl attached to a thousand wires in a hospital room.
My friend gave me permission to grieve the loss of the child I thought would be mine. It hit me that almost every parent has subconscious expectations of who their child will be, and the parents who are not disappointed immediately will probably have their time in the future.
That’s when I knew that I was the problem, not Robin.
This year was so intensely challenging because Robin wrecked me and I was unprepared for it. I had no idea the deep prejudices lying within my heart. And I can’t just delete this ugliness within me; it’s intertwined throughout my worldview and I still continue to pick out pieces every single day.
At this point in time, I have more to say about fear than anything else because it so recently shook me. But let it be known: love was what dissolved the crisis I invented.
I am thankful Robin was given to me, because I don’t think the old Angela would have chosen her.
An infant taught me true love and grew my heart and mind. How miraculous.
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 10/53. 'Robin' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper