A couple of nights ago for the first time River’s page on Facebook came under a bit of fire. It was following the wonderful Meryl Streep using her platform to stand up for the disabled community, and give them a voice. I was actually attacked by some Trump supporters, who told me I was a hypocrite and that I was all that was wrong with the Down syndrome community. They questioned how I could support someone who advocates for abortion and that as I had a child with Ds, I should be ashamed of myself.
I made the big mistake of assuming that River’s followers would be against the mocking of people with disabilities. That they would see a fully grown man using his power to bully, and they would be as horrified as I was. Don’t worry, I’m big enough and bad enough to handle it, but it was definitely an eye opener. It left me a bit restless, and instead of wasting my energy answering these people and getting into an online debate I started writing. It’s had a wonderful response, and I’m back to the belief that River has an amazing following and that we really do make a difference. Here it is………….
More than 90% of pregnancies end in abortion when a diagnosis of Down syndrome is given. I believe that that this is due to outdated and untrue views within society about what Down syndrome really is and means. These are not accidental pregnancies; they are planned and very much wanted babies. Right up until a Down syndrome diagnosis is given.
I want women to keep their babies because they want to keep their babies. I want them to know that having a child born with Down syndrome is a blessing, that their babies can have a good life, have something to offer the world and will bring pure joy to their family life. I want women to want their babies, to love their babies and to recognize their worth. When a woman is given a prenatal diagnosis I want them to think ‘This isn’t what I planned but I’ve got this. It may be a different journey but it’s a journey I want to go on”. I want women to feel, supported, strong and not judged. I want women to know that their babies will be incredible, and that their life will become incredible because they chose life for their child. I want women to remember River and not feel sad or scared, but excited and lucky. I want them to know that River’s mum is there to support them if they need advice, to chat or to just cry. I want women to know that they can visit River’s page, ask questions and not feel judged by anyone. To know that we are there to listen, encourage, support, educate and be honest.
I don’t want women to keep their babies with Down syndrome because they were forced to. I don’t want women to lose their choices, to lose their rights over their own bodies. Women fought long and hard for their choices and voices, and I don’t want that lost.
So that is why I started Rivers page. To show River to the world and educate about what life with Down syndrome really is. Easy? No. Incredible? Absolutely. I want women to look at River, to look at our family and want that to. To not feel afraid about their futures, but excited about what their future holds.
That is why there is no judgement from me. I don’t feel important enough or perfect enough to judge anyone and nor do I want to. I just want to do my part towards raising awareness for our children, by allowing you all to be a part of Rivers journey. I can’t change the world, but I will do my very best to open some eyes and minds and hopefully enable some future mums to make an educated decision. I hope you all feel that I’m doing my job.