Becoming a mum aged 24 was so exciting. When I was 25 I became a mum for the second time. The excitement lasted for the few seconds after birth before I saw my daughter; she was born unexpectedly with Down's syndrome. A year later my 2 yr old son was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. As a mother you instinctively learn to anticipate the unexpected, but this kind of unexpected, twice, can be too much for anyone to bear.
It is very difficult to explain the depths of the pain that takes hold of you the moment you find out your child has special needs. I have experienced two very different types of diagnosis; one almost immediately after birth and the other following two years of unanswered questions. Neither circumstance is pleasant but without doubt the unexpected shock at birth was horrific. A day after my daughter’s birth, my husband and the doctors finally confirmed their suspicions that she had Down’s syndrome. In my book, A Brief Moment in Time, I described the moment in this way:
"I do not know how long we sat like that. We were devastated and totally heartbroken. The pain was excruciating, the situation unfathomable. We held each other and cried. There can be no preparation for a moment like this. There is no manual that instructs you on what to do or how to react. You are simply stunned into grief; a lonely, isolated place where you are not yet ready to clamber onto a glimmer of hope or acceptance. Nothing can be said or done to alleviate the pain. It was a moment suspended in time that would haunt me for years to come." Read more of Deborah's story here