In Peace and Love

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Learning to love life is an experience that, on many occasions, has put my mind, body and soul to the test. And despite the difficulties, I have always left strengthened and dignified.

I work on aspects of human rights that have given me valuable tools to deal with situations that would take anyone by surprise. Violence, discrimination, aggressions and humiliations are habitual contexts in my office. I also work in education. So when it's time to improvise to solve problems, I have techniques designed to face adversity.

Despite this, there was a moment in my life when the unexpected marked me radically. Nothing prepared me at that time to deal, in the first months of my pregnancy, with the news that my gynecologist gave me:

"Your baby is a child, but I have bad news, you have Down syndrome. We have to do more studies to understand the seriousness of ... - My ears closed.

When I left the office, the streets looked like ash. The sun burned, but I did not feel uncomfortable as on other occasions. I was lost in my thoughts, fears, anxieties and, above all, I felt oppressed by an inalterable force, God, destiny, or life, no matter the name.

I felt that same oppression that when I witnessed the violence, the imposition, the conditioning of human beings, it filled my heart with anger and desire to defend the victims. Only at that moment I was the victim of an injustice that life was pouring over my head. Thoughts of anguish and sadness. 

I needed to recover my center, to step on firm again. This seemed impossible. But I made an effort, perhaps the greatest of my life. I began to pass the time in silence, especially when I took long walks in the park, accompanied by the sounds of the wind that rocked the branches. I distanced myself from the stimuli that modernity offers with full hands; nothing cell phone, screens, music, junk food and so on.                     

I tried to consider and assimilate the fact that my son would suffer a condition that would limit, in some aspects, his development. I was used to witnessing the growth of the human being, since children weigh only a few kilos of weight, until they begin to unwrap with the force of a miracle. After all, my job was the observation of children.

I began to deal with my fears, opposing my knowledge about education and raising children with different abilities. I accepted the inexorable fact that we should be strong, my son and me. My duty, as a mother, as a woman, as a human being, was to equip him with the skills and tools to become a good man. Is goodness limited to beings well proportioned and perfect in physical appearance? Of course not. Then, as if a flare had ignited in my heart, I began to turn the situation around.

I ran to the bookstore and bought books about raising children with Down syndrome. I studied at night, extra hours. He related what he knew, with the new knowledge that he discovered every day in the pages of the books. Sadness and fear left me; I felt a great responsibility that included my son, me and all humanity. Being a mother changed my understanding of life. Not even my work in human rights and education had endowed me with that sensitivity.

I began to feel intense gratitude towards life for the opportunity to be a mother of a child who would need more love, understanding and support than a child needs in conditions that people call normal. And, despite this differentiation, I did not see anything abnormal in the fact of having a child with Down syndrome. A son is a son, and the abnormal thing is not wanting it with all the soul; that is miserable and should be considered a crime.

One night before my scheduled appointment with the gynecologist, I felt that the months had not passed in vain. I had dedicated myself to observe myself, to be aware of myself in another way. I realized that he had forgiven me, because the day the doctor gave me the news of my baby, unconsciously I had blamed myself. I felt an immense love that filled me with joy and reached my son, in my belly. Only mothers know that language between us and the creature we carry inside. I went to bed, full, as a renewed being.               

The next morning I arrived at the office, the doctor was waiting for me, together with a nurse, to perform an amniotic fluid test, with the purpose of determining the degree of affectation of the news that had changed my life months ago.

The doctor told me that the entry of the needle into my belly could be fatal for the baby, as it was very long. They did an ultrasound, looking for the right angle to perform the procedure. The doctor had to take a sample of the amniotic fluid and avoid at all costs to perforate an organ of my son.

The nurse told me to calm down. It was not me who was nervous, but my baby. Somehow he knew he was in danger, he could feel it through his mother. Talk to the baby and explain. Meanwhile, the doctor started with the procedure. My son reacted miraculously: when he felt the entrance of the needle, he made a small ball in a corner until the doctor extracted it.

"I've never seen anything like this," the nurse said and the doctor nodded. Both were surprised.

Two weeks later, during a routine checkup, the doctor told me that my baby was a girl, confirmed, and that I did not have Down syndrome, it was only calcium formations in the brain that disappeared within a few weeks of being born. .

I learned that in such a moment it is possible to be in peace and love with what life offers us. I was able to live in a state of gratitude that taught me a deeper meaning of what it means to be alive, love, grow and raise a human being to turn him into a good being. I wish we could all determine love and kindness as our goals in life, even in the most insignificant acts.

Profiles, EnglishClaudia Flores