We have such a special project to share with you today and I genuinely feel so honoured to have been a part of it. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s going to change lives, it really is. It’s going to be the difference between fear and sadness, and hope and excitement for so many families. This is what we all needed when we learnt our child had Down syndrome.
The brilliant Wouldn’t Change a Thing have done it again and produced something that is set to send the Down syndrome community right into the spotlight again, and as always they’ve achieved it in such a positive way. They’re launched a book that is set to support new and expectant parents and will be supplied in maternity units throughout the UK. From start to finish it is bursting with light, full of families and people with Down syndrome living full, happy and meaningful live. Families sharing their positive stories with those who desperately need to hear it. It’s our truth, all in one beautiful book!!
You’ve just given birth to a very loved and very longed for new baby, but the atmosphere and reactions of medical staff are sending you into panic. You know something is wrong and nobody can look you in the eye. The nurse has tears in her eyes and has to leave the room. Somebody sits you down and tells you how sorry they are, that your child has Down syndrome. They then overload you with scary medical facts that may or may not effect your child and list off all the things your child will never do. You immediately feel a darkness wash over you and are filled with fear and a devastation that only a parent who has faced the same can describe. And that’s it, your moment of bringing life into the world and the celebrations that are meant to proceed are lost forever.
But now imagine this.
Somebody comes and calmly explains that they have some news for you and that it is going to be a shock. They explain to you that it’s going to be frightening at first, but not to panic because the reality is far from expectations. They’ll look you in the eye and tell you that your child has Down syndrome, but they won’t look sad or full of pity. They’ll even congratulate you on the birth of your beautiful baby. They’ll inform you of any immediate medical conditions that may concern you and your baby, yet they’ll also inform you that any other medical information can wait for now until you feel stronger. They’ll tell you that even though it’s a different path to what you imagined, your child is still going to be amazing and that your life is going to be incredible.
And then they’ll hand you this book and you’ll see the proof for yourself. Anyone can tell you that everything going to be ok, but the pages inside this book will be the evidence you need. You’ll look through it and see so many happy families looking back at you, and in those families you’ll see your own. In that moment you will no longer feel so frightened, you will no longer feel like your whole world has collapsed and you will no longer feel like your child’s life is ruined before it’s began.
This book will give you hope.
This book is our truth and it’s about to start changing diagnosis stories into the positive and supportive moments that they are meant to be. New parents and their children deserve that.
Special thanks to Wouldn’t Change a Thing, Celebrate T21 and all the incredibly generous and talented photographers who made this possible.