The Moment I Became a Special-Needs Parent And Lost My Name

By Kat Abianac, 2015

Two years ago I became the mother of a beautiful newborn. I sat upstairs alone in a hospital room the night he was born – a 9 lb pound boy in a neonatal cot downstairs alone, on long term oxygen. While I lay in the birthing suite minutes after his arrival, the doctor informed me my child had Down syndrome.

I relived the moment over and over that first night. The hospital smell was etched in my brain and I had flashbacks of the moment time stopped, the world spun sideways, never to return to its previous axis.

A parent receiving a diagnosis for their child will remember that exact moment forever, the moment their role as a parent took a detour. I replayed in my head every word spoken at my 20-week ultrasound. I repeatedly reviewed the last 9 months in my head to figure out all the signs I’d missed while my life imploded.

That night I was caught in an endless loop of grieving, dreading further health tests and dealing with the aftermath of his diagnosis — finding out my child wasn’t the one I expected after that long hard pregnancy.

My life changed in that hospital room. My sense of self-identity was crushed. I was no longer Kat Abianac – blonde, high-heel wearing, happy-go-lucky, loves life and always puts a positive spin on things. I was now a Hospital Mum.

Neonatal wards weren’t built for parents. They were custom made for their precious charges, while they sustained and nurtured life. In that hospital, I was now simply ‘Mum’. My new title had been handed me by the very same doctor who informed me my son had Down syndrome.

See page 2 for the rest of the story…

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