At some point during my pregnancy (maybe around 23 or so weeks) I stood in the living room and asked my husband, “What if she wants to get plastic surgery?” He looked at me like I was crazy.
“Why would she want that?” he asked.
“Because…what if she doesn’t look like us?” I mused.
“I think she’ll look like both of us.”
For him it was that simple. For me, not so much.
When I was in middle school I thought my nose was disproportionate to my face (really it was more that it was the feature that most reminded me that I looked like my father) and I wondered if I should get a nose job. I asked my maternal grandmother what she thought and she agreed that a nose job would be fine. She even pinched the bridge of my nose. That, for me, validated that it was wrong.
Down Syndrome comes with a whole host of “maybe your child could be born with_______ and maybe they won’t” qualities. It also has certain physical markers that may or may not show up. I wondered what if other people pick on her because of these physical markers? Middle school was a torturous time for me and my heart breaks thinking of my Warrior Princess having to experience 1/16 of what I went through. How strong would the physical markers be? Would these physical markers over power her features? Would she look in the mirror and wonder why she didn’t look like me or Matt? More than her not being able to see me in her reflection, maybe my fears were about me not being able to see myself in her.
When Warrior Princess was born, and for many days after, I would look at her and think that she looked like herself. She is mine and I love her. I didn’t see myself, I just saw my little girl, my fighter, her toothless grin, her sassy arms flailing about.
Yesterday I took a selfie with her in my arms (and one of my dogs, Jackson, had his head on my shoulder). When I looked at it, I saw myself in her face. She has the shape of my eyes and my eyebrows. I liked it, I liked being able to pinpoint my face in hers. But the funny thing is, it didn’t change how I felt about her at all. My heart didn’t swell any larger, my love didn’t grow any deeper.
I already loved her face.