Grateful for a Birth Defect?

by Rhonda Patrick-Sison

“The Apostle Paul wrote from a dark, dank prison the following: “I have learned this one thing in life; that in whatever state I find myself, therein to be grateful. Whatever condition I find myself, therein to be grateful.”

No matter what the condition is, therein to be grateful, because gratitude is transformative.” – Mary Morrissey

Many years ago, when friends would come to me and want to talk about their problems, I would sit and listen. Deeply, carefully, with undivided attention. I’ve been told that I’m a really good listener.

Sometimes I would say to friends “don’t think it can’t get any worse, because it can.” Why would I say something so menacing, so DOOMSDAY? Because from my life’s experience, that was what I knew to be the truth and my friends deserved the truth, not some BS like “oh don’t worry, it’ll be ok” or “look at the bright side.”

I felt that if they took their eye off off the problem, it would grow larger and stronger and overtake them completely and then they would never trust me to give them sound advice again.

Years later, I gave birth to my first child, my son Ryan. Ryan was born with a cleft palett and the prognosis wasn’t great. The doctors came into my room and said that my son had a serious birth defect and he would need surgery, he would be underweight, he would have hearing loss and speach impediments, increased respiratory illnesses, etc. Then they left me to contemplate how much worse it was going to get.

As you can imagine, I went through the gamut of emotions and the legendary mother’s guilt I’d heard so much about kicked in as if on cue. A deeeper despair than I had ever felt in my life washed over me.

I got home with my new baby and he set me straight, quickly. The kid had no idea he was anything but perfect and in that gift, I listened to him deeply, carefully and with undivided attention. He allowed me to be grateful for everything that was going right with him and from there, I began to shift, for good.

Ryan spoke clearly and early, he grew plump and happy and healthy, without any complications due to his cleft palett or surgeries.

This is my personal story of how gratitude truly took hold in my life and how my baby boy introduced me to “the friendly Universe” I am so humbled to live in now.

I love you all!

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I love to imagine he's singing Across The Universe...