If I Could Go Back…

It’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month (predominantly in the US, but happy to embrace it as I always do), so what better time to direct you to a short film I had the pleasure of contributing to.

I have mentioned The Specials before (an online series that also aired on OWN in the US), they have been a fabulous, fun part of our journey with Down’s Syndrome.

I used to work for a company that sold documentaries internationally and we represented The Specials before I was pregnant with Audrey.

It was quite a moment for me, when, back at work visiting colleagues with my small baby, I bumped into Katy (producer of The Specials) and for the first time, I felt excited to tell someone that my baby had Down’s Syndrome! I knew that she would get it.

Anyway, the company I worked for went into liquidation, time passed, but I thankfully remained in touch with Katy because she’s just one of those lovely-type-people you stay in touch with.

She asked if we (my family and I) might be interested in being filmed for some content for The Specials website. They were interested in representing a different part of the Down’s Syndrome journey – the early part with a little one like Audrey.

Of course I said yes, I am always thrilled at the prospect of showing off Audrey and reaching people with our story – showing what life is like.

Katy started filming us the summer Audrey turned 2 and continued into the winter when I was heavily pregnant with Rex.

I’m pleased to be able to share with you a short film that came from some of that filming: a project called “If I Could Go Back…” that has given a voice to a variety of parents of children with Down’s Syndrome, explaining what those early days are like and what we’d like to say to ourselves if we could go back…

Click here to view on YouTube

It’s a perfect film to share during Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month and one that I hope will be useful to new mothers, fathers, grandparents… basically anyone who fears what it might be like to have a child with Down’s Syndrome in their life. What we thought “then” and what we know “now” = just wow. I could literally talk all day about what I thought it would be like to have a child with Down’s Syndrome and what it is actually like.

Audrey makes me so happy, so proud and she continues to surprise me every day with what she is learning and has achieved. So different to the fear in my heart that moment I first looked at her face.

More links to come no doubt, but for now, I hope you enjoy this one, it’s certainly emotive!

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Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month approaching…

When Audrey was born I wasted too much time worrying about the most ridiculous superficial nonsense! I thought about things like her not having any fashion sense! That she might be fat! That mother-daughter time would never be how I had once dreamed… I’m so ashamed by these thoughts.

One of the worst/craziest worries was that I would never think she was beautiful. Here we are at 14 months, she’s 100% the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. It should be a given that a mother would feel that way about her child.

I suspect my blog posts will get a bit repetitive, I apologise in advance! But I’ve realised the importance/benefit of “raising awareness”. If people were more aware and if disabilities were a part of everyday life, those of us suddenly thrust into this world might not feel so awful/negative about it.

October is Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month.

In October 2012 I fell pregnant with Audrey. In October 2013 she was 3 months old. Thanks to Instagram I found out about DSAM and found all the DS hashtags that led to me to become part of a community of wonderful people enjoying life and sharing their DS experiences. Seeing happy families from around the word really did make a difference to me. It has given me hope, support and also the confidence to share our story and share Audrey with the world.

Back in October 2013 I had around 80 followers on IG, a year on I (Audrey!) have 720!

I must admit, my first thoughts about Down’s Syndrome awareness was; “I’m aware of it, as are most people, not really sure why we need to increase awareness”. Ha. But gradually I realised what the “awareness” was doing for me and how much strength you can gain from seeing other people go through what you’ve been through and come out the other side.

And then I think about awareness and inclusion and what that can do for the world. If TV and adverts and mainstream media embraced special needs, disabled people, minorities… Maybe we’d all feel more comfortable around people who are “different” to the norm. Maybe we’d all feel less scared by “different”. And maybe a woman somewhere getting told her baby has DS won’t immediately feel the future has been destroyed, but will think “Oh, ok, unexpected, but people with DS lead happy and fulfilled lives, things are going to be ok”.

Audrey in October 2013…

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And now (Sept 2014)…

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