A mother whose daughter was born with Down’s syndrome has shared how her child has helped redefine her ideas of perfection.
Writing for The Telegraph, Rachel Stevenson explains that hearing the news of Tilly’s diagnosis “was like someone had punched me in the face”.
But two and a half years later she says: “My heart bursts with love for her”.
‘The perfect family’
Rachel and husband James lived in a small flat in London with two young children, when they discovered that they were having twins.
Rachel said, “my main worry wasn’t space, but how I could be a good mum to them all. But the silver lining was knowing the twins were a boy and a girl; we’d have two of each – the perfect family”.
After the midwife revealed that Tilly had Down’s syndrome, the family was devastated.
“I could barely breathe for guilt”, Rachel said.
Initially her life was filled with sadness and grief for the loss of her ‘perfect’ family. Now Rachel realises how wrong she was.
Whilst explaining Tilly’s condition to her oldest daughter Elizabeth, the child interrupted to say: “But Mummy, everybody is different”. Rachel agreed that her daughter was “spot on.”
“In the early days, I imagined that I could somehow fix everything and make Tilly ‘normal’. But now we would never want to change her”.
“She is who she is – beautiful, determined, funny, joyous”.
Rachel said: “Looking back to my reaction when Tilly was born, I realise how ignorant I was about disabilities. James and I assumed that her life would be half-lived – how wrong we were.”
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has expressed concern after new figures revealed that the number of abortions for Down’s babies has increased by 50 per cent in the last ten years.
The figures show that the number of abortions is at its highest in a decade.