27 Mar The Fear of Rejection.
Estimated reading time 5 and a half minutes
A few days ago I admitted to a friend that during the past year I had been feeling scared that no one wanted to be friends with me anymore because I had a child with down Syndrome. She laughed and laughed (and I laughed along with her) and she called me very silly. It does sound silly, and laughable, and I am able to laugh with her now but the feeling has been very real and very horrible. Sometimes even crippling.
I think it all came from a conversation I had with a friend when I was pregnant. I was about to have my first major scan and I was telling her how I did not want an amnio test for Down Syndrome. I did not want to terminate my pregnancy for that reason and was afraid of the pressure I would receive from others in my life if there was a diagnosis. I expressed that I didn’t care if my baby had a disability like Down Syndrome and that I would love him/her any way. Her response was something like this “oh you are so loving and nice but you can’t have a child with down syndrome, it is too hard. They are so loud and no one can understand them. It would be just too hard“. I am not sure if she remembers saying this and she did say kind things to me when Ariel was born, but unfortunately I can’t seem to forget it. I know how she really feels.
Does every one of my friends feel like this? Of course they are not going to admit it to me so maybe they all do….
I will keep my friends at arms length and that way they won’t be put in an awkward position of having to come out with me.
Maybe I should find all new friends, friends who have children with Down syndrome.
These are all thoughts that have been in my mind for the last year and it has been painful to be honest. I have not been living exactly how I want to live. Luckily I have some amazing friends that have stuck by me through this phase and reassured me of their love and acceptance. Thank goodness I am blessed with these great friends and with their kindness I have been able to overcome this unreasonable fear and let it go. I have also met some great new friends who are also very accepting and they don’t even have children with Down syndrome.
The thing I have learnt about life through over coming this fear is people are going to accept or reject me based on many things and that is fine. It is not up to me to decide for others what they can and can’t handle. If they cant handle the fact Ariel has Down syndrome that is their problem. Not mine.
Some days we all gotta be a bit more like Tom.
A while ago, I saw a lady wrote on one of the Facebook groups for parents with kids who have Down syndrome “just because we have kids with down syndrome does not mean we are all going to be friends”. And that is so true. I have met some great people on these groups and I have already made friends with a few and that is based on our personalities connecting. It was just our little ones bought us together. The thing about relationships is you need to have common ground. I am vegan and I love running. I like a bit of glam rock – music and style. Im a bit of a hippy chic and a free spirit. Unconsciously I am probably going to accept and reject people as friends based on some of these character traits of mine and that is life. Just because we all can’t be best friends does not mean we all can’t be nice and get along. Being kind is free so be kind, always.
The biggest lesson here for me though, is to live in the moment. Don’t fear the future or dwell in the past, enjoy what is happening now. Be present, relax and breathe, everything is going to be fine.
I really love these lyrics from Leonard Cohen. Stop trying to offer up perfection, there is a crack in everything and that is how the light gets in.