Dear Future Mom

21/03/2014

When I was pregnant with my second son I attended a business seminar taken by Wilf Jarvis, who developed Four Quandrant Leadership.

One of the points he made was about the danger of sticking labels on people.

He illustrated this by telling of a woman who came to see him about with a young child and began the session by saying “This is my son, he’s a mongol, he’ll never learn to read and write.”

Wilf stopped her and asked his name, she told him and he said, “This is Y and he has Down Syndrome.”

Y is now an adult, living an independent life and among his other achievements is writing his autobiography.

One of the children I met while in hospital with my son had Down Syndrome. He too is independent and one of his achievements was getting his driving licence.

Not all people with Down Syndrome are that able, but then not all people without it are that able either.

It’s World Down Syndrome Day.

This video was made in response to a woman who had discovered the baby she was carrying had Down Syndrome and she was afraid.

Several years ago Emily Perl Kingsley wrote  Welcome to Holland, which explains how she felt when being told her child had a disability.


Aiming for Italy, Landing in Holland

10/05/2009

The images for Mothers Day are usually of happy families with happy, healthy children.

That’s not the case for all mothers and one who knows what it feles like when your baby isn’t the happy, healthy one you expected is  Emily Perl Kingsley, who was a writer for Sesame Street.

Her son, Jason, had Down Syndrome which prompted her to write this:

WELCOME TO HOLLAND

 

by
Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

 

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.


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