Of course I’m proud my baby is featured in this magnificent book. (Press launch was September 28th in London)
But that’s not why I got emotional, totally unexpectedly, in the middle of a sentence.
I was busy leafing through it, for the very first time, in awe of the most beautiful pictures of all these babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults and their families (a timeline of what could be, across the board of ethnicities and abilities).
All I could see, all I could feel, oozing from every page was love and joy.
And in the middle of saying how nice it would have been to get hold of that book 20 years ago when my Kathleen was born, well, it took me back to how I felt then. And all I could feel was doom and gloom for the future of my beautiful baby. I thought no one would love her except her dad and I, I thought she would be rejected from society, from school; I pictured her life as a recluse to escape people’s cruelty. I was crushed both by the sheer love I felt for her and the life I pictured for her. Fears founded and force-fed by outdated perceptions and a complete lack of positive and accurate representation.
Had I been given that book at the same time as the diagnosis, I wouldn’t have wasted so many tears, i wouldn’t have been robbed of all those precious and unforgettable moments when you first meet your baby.
That’s the one thing I would change on that journey. Nothing else. Anything else would mean a different Kathleen. And we love her just the way she is, warts and all…
So yes, this book is most definitely important for future parents.
But not only for future parents, mind!
It’s not just another leaflet that will join the pile of other leaflets about other disabilities in all sorts of waiting rooms at GPs and hospital rooms and go unnoticed by medical professionals.
Its sheer and unique format coupled with high quality paper and pictures scream RESPECT, LOVE, TAKE NOTICE, THINK TWICE, THINK THRICE! And so rightly so…
And just for the record, There was a cake there too. A gorgeous celebratory cake In the shape of the book. Not reading into it (excuse the pun), just getting ahead of the trolls: the cake was meant to be eaten and not to demonstrate that Down syndrome is a piece of cake. Far from it. Actually, if you think raising a child is a piece of cake as long as they are disability-free, let me tell you, you’ve got something else coming! On the other hand, raising a child with a disability doesn’t mean in any way, shape or form that your allocated slice of Happiness has been compromised, reduced or tampered with. The only fuel Happiness runs on is Love. Everything else is accessory. Just to clarify. Just in case you didn’t know it already…
If you wish to purchase a copy: https://www.wouldntchangeathing.org/product/wcat-book-by-celebrate-t21/