This is a story I wanted to share. It’s a summary of a book called Before You Were Born by Howard Schwartz. In this children’s picture book, a child asks for a story about, “before I was born.”
A father tells the tale of the Angel, Lailah, who guards the human soul. She watches over the Treasury of Souls in Heaven, this is a garden of flowers when unborn souls grow. Once a soul is chosen to be born, Lailah brings it down to earth. Lailah plants the soul as a seed in the mother’s womb.
There, in that cozy space a light shines on the child and they can see to the edges of the universe. Lailah tells the growing baby all the secrets of the world – the languages of all animals, the language of the wind, the history of that very soul, and its future.
Just before it’s time to be born, Lailah turns out the light and touches the baby’s upper lip, creating an indentation, Lailah says shh, all this knowledge must be kept secret.
“But don’t worry,” the father tells his now sleeping child, “you have the rest of your life to learn all those wondrous secrets again.
I love the idea of a baby being selected especially for their parents – that special people are destined to have special babies. For me this rang true shortly after Little Miss Adorable was born. When she was delivered via caesarian section and the doctor announced, “It’s a girl,” I was secretly disappointed. I had hoped for a boy.
I had enjoyed the early years with my son so much that I had unconsciously hoped to duplicate them. When I saw Little Miss Adorable, I was again disappointed – instead of an olive complexion, dark hair and dark eyes like my son, she was pink. Strawberry blonde hair, pink skin and blue eyes. This could not be my child, I thought. She looks nothing like anyone.
When I was sent home from the hospital without her I was devastated. I was angry at the hospital for keeping her to take care of. I was angry at the thought that there could be something ‘unfixably’ wrong with her. The nurses kindly advised us that there was likely a genetic issue that caused Little Miss Adorable’s severe hypotonia, and tests would be done. We could only wait. As I cried alone, I rejected Little Miss Adorable. I did not want a baby with ‘special needs.’
As I cried alone and pitied myself an image came into my head. The image was a pink cloud full of wonderful feelings. The voice in my head said, “Now here’s a special little girl that you have to take care of. Then you’ll see how special she is.”
I did not want this. Both Hubby and I are educators and work in the field of Special Education. We knew how challenging Little Miss Adorable’s life would be. But we did not know how wonderful it would be to have her in our lives.
I am not religious.
But I think whoever decided she would be our child did the right thing.