Dear Past Generation Mom

The following was written after an article that appeared in the Daily Mail this week that came with the designed-to-shock-and-divide headline 'I Wish I'd Aborted the Son I've Spent 47 Years Caring For'.

Rather than lashing out at the mother speaking in the piece, I felt I needed rather to consider the times her son was born in, and instead question the journalism at work which contained no regard for the voice of the man at the centre of the article and was clearly pro-abortion.

Families in the 60s had a much tougher battle than we do today, and many many mums and dads were and are incredible pioneers. The following is written to no-one in particular, but instead a character based on the many parts of people I have met and read about.

Dear past generation Mom,

I note with respect the hurdles you have faced. 

Twinkl, you little star! Free Learning Resources

I use a variety of learning resources when helping Natty with homework, when we used to hem school and when simply helping her learn about the world around her. 

Natty, like many children with Down's syndrome is a visual and a kinesthetic (actions) learner, so colourful and interesting visual resources that capture her interest are key.

One of my favourite sites is Twinkl.
If you are a teacher you will already be using their 93,000 lovely and unique teaching resources' daily, but you might not be familiar with them as a parent.

Erma Bombeck: The Special Mother

Erma Bombeck's piece 'The Special Mother'

Many people say that 'special children are only born to special parents', or those that are strong enough to cope

Others assert that 'special babies choose their parents carefully'. 

Maybe this is said to boost us, or make us feel we can deal with what life throws at us, but sadly I've heard enough stories about children with disabilities in my time who are unloved, unwanted or maltreated to be rather suspicious of either of these statements.

A Makaton Nativity Play that Includes all Children

Mum of Jacob and Primary School teacher Rebecca Thompson has created this wonderful new Christmas resource that would benefit all early years settings or SEN classrooms. 

It is a fabulous Nativity play with Makaton sign and song. Rebecca tells us about the reason and motivations behind creating Born This Night here.

New Makaton nativity play

When my son, Jacob was about 14 months old our speech and language therapist recommended we started to use Makaton to help him to communicate.  Desperate to do anything that would help his development my husband and I enrolled on a two-day training course and our signing journey began.

Flu Jab Natty Style: Our Influenza Vaccination

There's nothing like the topic of vaccinations to get people hot under the collar is there?

Do we, don't we? Should you, shouldn't you?

It's that time for Natty's flu jab again

But as the mum of a child who is susceptible to respiratory infections and who was hospitalised each Winter during the first few years of her life with Bronchialitis or Pneumonia or Croup or an ear infection, I don't consider this to be a difficut decision. Add in a past heart condition and we don't have to think twice about it.

Flu jab time is upon us again and Natty will be going along to our GP next week for her injection. Some surgeries offer the additional protection of covering carers too, so ask if you think you should have it.

We made this little video last year to show you just how very brave we are:

Get Rid of Mucus: 5 Easy Tricks To Beat Catarrh Naturally!

Please welcome dear friend and naturopath Sarah Murphy from Be A Naturopath for today's snot-busting guest post.

5 Tips to beating mucus and catarrh naturally

You’ve turned the heating on and we're hurtling towards hats, wellies and gloves weather. Yep, we are in the midst of the cold season…. Here's how to help you child battle the mucus and catarrh.

My Story of Mum #SoMum

The wonderful Pippa at Story of Mum is asking us all to join her in thinking about our identity as women and mothers with her online and travelling exhibition. 

You can join online or go to an exhibition near you. Here's my video talking about my journey into motherhood.

I recently met a wonderful group of women for an uplifting evening that fed my soul, as we shared our stories, hopes, fears, dreams, guilts, sadnesses and envies, and remembered who we were at the core of our beings. 

Yes, there were tears. But there were giggles, smiles and enough love to go around the world too.

Netbuddy create new online Scope community

We've always loved Netbuddy, (not least because they have FABULOUS taste in models daaaarling), but because they were my one stop shop for those Natty-is-driving-me-to-distraction-by-refusing-to-let-me-brush-her-hair moments we all have.

Well, they are still just as fabulous, but they are now going to be hosted under the Scope umbrella. Same great support, new home.

Netbuddy are to become part of a new Scope online community

Want a tip? Check out Scope’s new online community

I Love You Natty: An Important Book Announcement/ Giveaway

We nervously launched our little book, written by our eldest daughter Mia, into the big wide world just under 6 months ago.

'A simply beautiful and touching account. 
I wish this book had been around when my daughter was born.'

'Every parent and medical professional should read 
this true story of life with Trisomy 21.'

'Educational and full of love, this book shows how 
the family have adapted and carried on.'

I Love You Natty: A Sibling's Introduction to Down's syndrome

'Downs Side Up is a campaign blog to watch' 
The Financial Times newspaper

We have been humbled and astonished at the response to the sibling introduction to Down's syndrome:

  • I Love You Natty has been shipped to every corner of the globe.
  • It has featured in numerous magazines and newspaper articles and has been reviewed by major charities, such as the DSA who gave it 99*
  • Natty took a copy onto the ITV Lorraine Show.
  • Proud owners of the sibling introduction to Down's syndrome include: Lorraine Kelly, Norman Lamb MP, CBeebies Dr Ranj, Prof Nikolaides of Harley Street, Fiona Bruce MP, oh, and Prof Richard Dawkins (well, he needed a little educating).
  • Copies can be found in Oxford and Cambridge University Libraries, The Houses of Parliament, The Department of Health, school classrooms, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the bookshelves of a house just like yours.
  • Bloggers such as Honest Mum have reviewed and run competitions.
  • We have donated over 100 books to various organisations, supporters and parents. 
  • It is now stocked in Waterstones and Sainsbury's Cornwall, as well as Amazon UK.
  • Feedback has been 5* from all who have purchased it. 
  • Youngsters with Down's syndrome say they adore the pictures and some children ask for it to be read to them every day.
  • We were very excited to do our first book signing in Waterstones over the Summer and another one is planned for nearer Christmas. 

Natty reads her I Love You Natty to Lorraine Kelly in the green room before gowing on the ITV Lorraine Show

And we are very proud to announce that we have finally covered our creation and printing costs, (phew!). It was a risk but we've done it.

We are now able to think about funding a reprint and making some minor amendments. We are very excited to now also be able to offer the book to charities, support groups and organisations wishing to sell them on. 

So if you would like to stock I Love You Natty or review a copy on your blog please do get in touch. 
For retailer costs contact me via

Thank you all for your immense support getting this project off the ground. I believe so passionately that such a book is needed, as it was exactly what we sought for Mia after Natty's arrival.

In the meantime we would like to celebrate by giving away 1 copy per week of I Love You Natty during October which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month #DSAM2014

You can enter below for your chance to win.

(Week 1 - Winner was Becky Smith)

#TeamT21 Down Syndrome Awareness Month Linky #DSAM2014

Add your Down syndrome blog posts for #DSAM2014 

Welcome to the October Team T21 Linky dear Down syndrome bloggers. 
What a wonderful month it has been for our team, with positive media articles left right and centre,