This week, I went back to work after 4 ½ months of Maternity Leave. This return back was conflicted: I was not thrilled to lose my freedom and go back to the daily grind. What makes it worse is that 60% (!) of my Department has been laid-off or will be by April 17. So, I feel guilty for not really feeling like going back because I should be happy I have a job. Which I am, for as long as it lasts. But I have worked hard and long to establish myself in this job (many of the positions leaving to India are operations type positions) and I am in a project-oriented position, so I am a little safer although no one is safe at this moment. Anyway, this in combination of facing people who now may or may not know about Annelies and who may or may not know how to approach me, or might feel awkward- a feeling I can pick up on immediately- made me a little leary. So far, things have been fine. It has been so nice to see people whom I have not seen for a while. I am still not used to the empty cubicles, especially of those I had a connection with.
An interesting thing happened: I went to the cafeteria and saw a girl who works there who had her daughter right around the time I had Marco (2 years ago). When she and I chatted about our babies when we both came back from maternity leave back then, she had shared that there were some medical concerns for her daughter, including a heart issue for which she needed surgery. So, I ran into her one morning this week and she asked how I was doing and how the new baby is. I told her Annelies was well, healthy, and then told her that she has Down syndrome. This was interesting; I made a split second decision to share this with her, based on a gut feeling that told me it was OK to do so. (Funny how I can pretty quickly seize up a person and just know what/how much to tell them to diminish the impact somehow. )
She told me her daughter has Trisomy8. This means her daughter has 3 of the 8th chromosome replicated to a number (not all) of the cells in her body. So we chatted a little bit until she had to go make a coffee for someone else. [Anyone living with T8 has a mosaic situation (the 3 8th chromosomes are in a group of cells on the body, not all cells. This allows for a large difference in issues someone with this condition has from not visible or not even diagnosed to very serious issues similar to serious health issues found in some who have Ds health and mental-wise.) It is nice to talk to someone who instantly understands, and I could tell the feeling was mutual for her. I want to talk to her more. I also had a nice talk with a colleague who has an older Brother with Ds. Support is everywhere, even in the workplace!
It is also interesting to find things in common with those who have become parents thru adoption. I know 2 women who have done so, and 2 men who are about to. A lot of the feelings they have described to me (not knowing fully what to expect for their child as they do not know the parents, that history. Or the difference because their child does not look like them.) It is funny how our kids, no matter where they come from or how they are created, bring us together in ways we never dreamed but would never change.