Back in 2006 I didn't just become a first time mum, I became a 'special needs mum'. I was 19 and our baby boy was born with Down Syndrome.
It was hard, but thinking back now I'm not quite sure why. It could've been my own ignorance put together with the way people made you think it should be hard. Those comments that went 'oh, I'm sorry' and 'I don't think I could do it'.
So nine years later, I want to share with you what parenting a child with additional needs means to me, what I've come to realise and what I've learnt so far.
The main thing I've come to realise is how bloody lucky I am. The chances were (the professionals like to call it 'risk') of having a child with DS at my age, about 1 in 2500, I was that 1. It's like the lottery, someone's gonna be the one that wins. Also unlike a lot of babies with DS, Poo-pie's heart was fine. There are so many CHD warriors, I honestly don't know how those parents get through the surgery, they have unbelievable strength.
That will be the only medically bit in this post because another thing I've learnt is a lot of the info and facts from the professionals is bull crap! If you want information, come to the Internet and get it from parents with true experience.
When H was a baby, DS was a big deal, it was a huge part of our lives, it's something I used to worry so much over. Now I don't even think about it, I actually forget that he has it, he's just Harv. Don't get me wrong I sometimes have moments where I'm like 'oh god, he's 9 and can't really have a conversation' but they are rare and I just remind myself that he'll get there. Which takes me to the next thing I've learnt, patience. I'll be honest, I definitely don't have the patience of a saint, but you learn that what comes with been patient is a huge, overwhelming sense of pride.
Another thing I've realised is that this little bit extra that he was born with contains extra love. He loves everyone, he's ALWAYS saying that he loves someone or something. And If he sees you, he cuddle you, if he meets you for the first time he'll cuddle you, if you're a barber and have just finished cutting his hair, he'll cuddle you. I can't help but wonder how peaceful the world would be if everyone had Down's syndrome. ☺️
There are still too many people out there that think people with DS are a burden on their families and society. I feel sorry for those people. I'm so thankful that Harvey is my son, he has made me a better person and has truly enriched my life.