3 years ago this week, I started a blog.
A blog about my baby daughter Ella.
A lot had happened since her birth and I wanted to capture her milestones and achievements and to share our journey. I wanted to be able to remember, to see how far she has come and to share my pride of being her mum.
I guess I also wanted to show people that having a child with Down’s Syndrome was not something to be feared or ashamed of. I couldn’t understand people keeping their distance when she was born, the new baby cards that said ‘sorry’ or the out of date, negative information we’d been given when she was born. I was seeing the world through new eyes – Ella’s eyes.
A Different View.
The blog has unexpectedly opened many avenues for me – getting involved with charities to raise awareness, supporting other parents and families, being part of an amazing movement to change societies views of DS and disability and meeting some amazing and inspirational like-minded people.
Unfortunately, it’s not always been easy. As a community, we’ve weathered a good many storms over the last few years…Colin Brewer,advances in pre-natal screening, internet trolls to name just a few.
And now this week, Richard Dawkins, an influential biologist stated that to bring a child with Down’s Syndrome into the world is immoral. His reasons being the welfare of the child and his opinion that people with Down’s Syndrome don’t offer anything valuable to society. And that was all broadcast to his 1.1million twitter followers. Unfortunately, should you take the time to read the replies and comments of others, it would lead you to believe that Richard Dawkins views are also those of society as a whole.
So saddening to hear that others deem my child less worthy of life, a ‘burden’, ‘tragedy’, ‘sufferer’. That people see a child with DS and ‘feel sorry’ for their family. That children shouldn’t even be born with this condition because there is a pre-natal test to screen them out of the population completely. Upsetting because then you wonder, is that what our friends, work colleagues or the lady on the checkout at the supermarket really thinks of our child? But you can’t think that way because on a personal level it’s destructive and it goes against everything that so many of us are working so hard to overcome.
So Dick, just for the record…Ella doesn’t suffer, she isn’t a burden to society and she is not the outcome of an ‘immoral’ decision. She’s mostly a very typical three year old, she says please and thank you, comforts those who are sad and unlike you doesn’t see difference in herself or others. Above all she is loved and treated as equally as her sister and we have high expectations for both our children.
I know I am merely a drop in the ocean of change. But every drop creates a ripple. And along with all the other drops creating ripples we are collectively creating a wave.
Together, we are a powerful force – changing attitudes, challenging preconceptions and raising awareness.
Who knows where we’ll be in another three years?