When my son was handed to me, shortly after I had undergone an emergency caesarian, it was clear to me that there was something not quite right. The combination of the hushed atmosphere as the medics made sure he was breathing; the anxious looks that passed between them; and the cute little pixie face that stared back at me.
But nothing was said. Being a terrible worrier, and having already experienced the loss of my first son, I tried to dismiss my feelings of anxiety. The nurses chatted as I was stitched up. I was flat on my back, being wheeled on a trolley back to the ward.
‘I’m the luckiest woman alive’ I told myself, ‘I have finally ‘got it all’ – a happy family, a lovely partner, a new-born son and a beautiful home for us all’. It was about an hour or so of a mixture of happiness and anxiety, as I kept looking at my little bundle and wondering.
As soon as the senior paediatrician swept in, I instinctively knew that my little bubble was about to burst. When it did, my partner physically jumped. I breathed slowly. Now was not the time to wobble.
That was nearly 11 years ago. The memories of that time are still very clear. Things have changed beyond all recognition. It’s been quite a journey (so far).
I will reflect on what has happened to us later. But what I want to say to anyone reading this facing a similar situation is, my lovely son is a healthy, handsome handful. He’s nearly 11 and about to go up to ‘big school’.
Did his birth change my life? Of course, as the birth of any child does. Is it hard going? Yes. Did the challenge of raising a child with a disability have a big impact on my life and relationships? Yes. Am I managing? Yes. Is my son developing and making the most of life? Definitely.
I will share some of my experiences in future postings. What I really want to say in this first one is this:
My son has a severe learning disability and I have had to come to terms with that. He struggles to learn and I have adapted my life to accommodate this. But he is an excellent teacher. He has taught me so much and has done so every day so far. My life is enriched and has more meaning with my son in it. There is a huge up-side of Down’s Syndrome, as I have discovered.