Why am I writing this blog?
I suppose I should go into a bit more detail on this and capture my reasons why, at the beginning of 2018 when Coraline is five months old. I’ve also captured the why here on my Blog.
It stems back to the day Coraline was born and I still see flashbacks to that first week in hospital and to the time we were told, within an hour of Coraline’s birth, that she had Down’s Syndrome. I wrote about how that felt in a blog post at the time. The flashbacks are just the fabric of my life now and I am amazed in my head at the vividness of those moments in time and I like to drift back to those moments because of that, with a curiosity. I felt so much actually those first couple of days we spent in hospital. I have never been so soaked in my own tears, or been so used to them on my face. I believe that what I felt was profound shock.
I realised that I was wholly uninformed about Down’s Syndrome. I didn’t know anything about it. A vague notion of what I had seen here or there, but it was something which wasn’t in my orbit.
And that was the simple reason I wanted to write which I began to do when she was two days old. I wanted to write because we had a beautiful baby, she was brand new to the world, and we were going to learn. And that was precisely why we were going to learn; because we had a beautiful baby, brand new to the world, and she has Down’s Syndrome.
It seemed like the perfect opportunity for people to learn more as we learned. I think I just felt if all my friends knew more then next time they met someone with Down’s Syndrome they would not feel like this was not something in their orbit. They, you, would feel like you knew something and would welcome it in to your orbit. And it’s as simple as that. That is all. It’s not political. And it’s not making any statement. It’s just about understanding. Of course no two children with Down’s Syndrome are the same though. And I do feel that broadening horizons and contributing to understanding are what life’s all about. That’s what my career in Cultural Relations has been about.
What’s a song I sometimes listen to when I’m out walking with Coraline? It’s “Comeback Story,” by King’s of Leon and the lyric goes, “I walk a mile in your shoes, And now I'm a mile away, And I've got your shoes.” So, next time you see someone or meet someone with Down’s Syndrome or hear about it, you can feel familiar, as you’re wearing my shoes!