Tonight I write, unplanned and unprepared. Exhausted after an exciting and emotional week. In haste almost, but from the heart.
I feel as if I stand on the edge of a precipice. Below me the unknown. Pitch black. The world of media and putting my precious babies into the limelight. Of critics, bigots, jealousy.
Who knows how deep the chasm is, what obstacles we will find ourselves falling onto, what lies at the bottom.
Others are charting this hostile territory too. But they are thousands of miles away and my ethos doesn't necessarily sit completely alongside theirs. So I am alone when I jump.
Behind me is a queue of parents, both friends and strangers I have met along the way and their children, some who have varying disabilities. All waiting for me to test the water, pave the way, soften the blow, create change.
I take comfort from their support, their desperate need for the world to alter it's attitude towards disability. I am blessed to be surrounded by such fiercely loving, supportive and protective family, friends and community members. I also cannot believe how I stumbled upon a journalist who writes for the tabloids, but who is a mum foremost and a person with great integrity. We also happen to really hit it off, what are the chances...?
Some times things happen in life for a reason...
Language teacher and music biz guru have 2 beautiful daughters. (Actually language teacher, chatterbox and general lover of people.) One has Down's Syndrome. The other immediately takes on the mantle of fiercely loving, protective sister and mentor.
A doctor tells me we will be ambassadors for children like this just after Natty is born. (No pressure there then!)
We meet a beautiful photographer who takes pictures of Natty that get me thinking (Traci Giles, we adore you). Natty is a natural in front of the camera.
Husband buys me a screamingly powerful Mac and a brilliant camera, both quite useful in this business of media. (Thank you darling x)
Natty starts school and people ask "What are you going to do with your time?" Another gauntlet thrown down. I fill the time with making teaching materials and giving Natty the 'extra' stuff she needs. That lasts 3 months before it is not enough.
Stories of teachers, doctors and midwives getting it so wrong with our kids fire up my imagination. (Well, they make my blood boil to be exact.) I'm an educated professional, so these people do not phase me one jot. (However, I believe that there are two ways to skin a cat... by shouting at it, or by gently stroking it and asking it nicely to do so....you get my drift.)
I see a lady on morning tv talking about how she was pressured into a termination hours after her baby was diagnosed as having Down's Syndrome. Something snaps in my head and I decide 'to make a change'.
I start the little blogette, as it became affectionately named. I always planned a book; a kids story with a character with Down's, my husband's life story, or a personal journey map as a mum, I was never quite sure, I never had time to think it out. But this would do as a trial run.
I join some blog networks.
I write to a few companies asking if they want Natty be in their ads, and then WHOOSH.
We clearly struck a chord somewhere along the line.
Thank you all for following us. I am just trying to do my best for us all.
I am jumping tomorrow and I hope I will simply dive into a warm pool of water, creating no more than a few ripples.
I hope you will all follow in my wake, unafraid.
I hope the world will see us basking there, relaxed and at home. I hope they get so accustomed to seeing our children in the media that they cease to notice their differences.
As I wrote, the article came online. It was abridged, it wasn't quite what Alison and I had planned, but it is there. It is positive. It is light and airy. It will reach 5 million people over their morning cuppa. Natty's beautiful face is shining out like a sun from the pages of the Sun.
And a picture paints a thousand words :)