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Ten Little Fingers

Mother atlasBy Cathy Jameson

While anticipating the birth of my first child, someone told me that new moms shouldn't worry while pregnant.  It isn’t healthy for the pregnancy or for the baby.  As long as the baby has ten little fingers and ten little toes, that's all a new Mom should worry about. 

…ten little fingers

ten little toes

a new one to love

with a small button nose

skin that’s soft, pink and new

love so strong

from me to you…

Ten little fingers, ten little toes.  It sounds so simple, so pure an so peaceful.  As a first-time mother, that’s all I thought to hope for. 

I don't think anyone can fully prepare themselves for where motherhood will take them.  Not until they are fully immersed in that role will they understand it or appreciate it.  My journey as a mother has morphed greatly and goes far beyond what my imagination could ever reveal.  From expecting them to being able to hold each my children in my arms after their births, I never knew how having children would change me.  All of my children, especially Ronan with all of his severe needs, helped me mature and evolve into the mom I am today.  Worries have come and gone, but the love I have for my children has only grown stronger.

The thoughts and hopes that I had as a new mother are quite different than the ones I cling to now.  They have nothing to do with having ten fingers and toes and certainly don’t compare to complicated issues that cross my mind now.  Before Ronan got sick, I had limited knowledge of chronic diseases and how childhood ailments can take a turn for the worse.  I never knew about life-altering reactions from medicine or the complexities of an autism diagnosis.  Now, though, when those subjects bombard my thoughts, I can’t help but be reminded of every concern I have for Ronan and for his future.  I question things that I may never find the answer to.  I wonder if Ronan will ever speak again.  I worry about his safety and his health.  I contemplate how I managed his needs.  I examine my strengths and weaknesses and how they will affect Ronan and his future.  I face my fears in my thoughts.  I pray for strength to handle it all.  I do as much as I can always hoping it’s enough. 

Motherhood.  It’s more than making sure fingers and toes are in the right spots.  It’s hoping, wishing and praying for happiness and success.  Not just for me, but for my kids.  Right now, my children, including Ronan, are on that path.  They will all live a fulfilled life according to their abilities, their personalities and what opportunities they grab.  Ronan will need the most help.  He still has a long way before he can truly catch up to what his siblings will get to do.  But it’s rewarding watching him attempt to keep up.  It’s also gratifying to know that I had a hand in getting him heading in the right direction.

On such a special day, one dedicated to all mothers, I would love to leave all my worries behind.  Instead of worries, I would hope instead to be filled with wishes.  Wishes that all of our children be given the gifts they need to be successful, fully functioning and one day independent.  I would love it if Ronan could really catch up to where his siblings are.  I would wish that he could be capable of speaking again.  I’d wish him to return to typical development so that his struggles are no more.  It’s a lot to wish for, but I’ve heard that some wishes come true.  Holding Ronan hand, with his fingers interwoven in mine, I’m hanging onto hope that those wishes will come true. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.



I remember when it was a ten fingers and ten toes world. Mom's smoked pregnant back then and let the kids scream in their cribs because most mother's had more than four--even seven kids wasn't unusual. The kids were shoved out the door to "play" all day and no one worried. Now, mothers have to be a lot more. They have to be smarter than doctors, teachers, and policemen combined. Children nowadays are diagnosed with non-existent diseases like ADHD and given powerful medications. In fact, ADHD symtoms may be a spectrum disorder; or possibly anemia or some other deficiency that goes untreated. Baby formulas contain sugars and GMO foods that might be deadly--almost like razor blades in Halloween candy. In the innocent sounding label "perfume" in shampoo, deodorant, and make-up lurks phthalates that can at certain levels cause birth defects in male children. An aware parent must go way beyond the baby books for good information--forget the newspaper, and TV which are solely interested in marketing under the guise of science. And yet if the Moms screw up and wear the wrong make-up, follow the doctors orders, have to work and so have to feed with toxic formula; they risk falling through the cracks of a society without pity.

Lin Wessels

Hoping and wishing with you! Happy Mother's Day!


Ten fingers, ten toes, and breathing... Sadly, with 1 in 18 kids now struggling with asthma, for too many children even normal breathing is no longer a given.

Victor Pavlovic

Happy Mother's Day Cathy, and to all the caring Moms out there!


Happy Mother's Day to you Cathy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful family with us! You are a wonderful writer - able to share the insights and feelings that so many of us share. Thank you and enjoy your day!

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