A Godmother's Turn to Speak

The following words are written by Natalia's Godmother, my former language teacher boss, close friend and a lady for whom I have great respect.  When Natty was born she had a no-nonsense attitude of, 'that is that, and that is God's will.  We will all be here to help you.'  Help she has, for although she is a busy lady, she has always believed in our abilities to do the best for Natty, and she is always there in a crisis, dropping everything to help out with an emergency hospital stay if Bob is away.  On the occasion of Natty's Christening party, I will always recall her saying to me, 'None of us really knows how strong we can be, until we are forced to be strong.'  Wise words indeed.

Natty in the arms of her Godmother.

"I will never forget the day Natalia was born. 

Hayley and Robert asked me to go to their house and stay with Mia as Hayley was about to go into labour. It was going to be a home birth, so someone had to look after Mia, then aged 3. 

I spent the evening sleeping in Mia's room.  Come 7 O'clock in the morning, Hayley was still in labour, so I decided to take Mia home with me. 

We played all day and waited for news.  It was late in coming and I was getting increasingly anxious.  When Robert finally phoned he said that Hayley was fine, the baby had been born, but that she had Downs...  

The rest is the inspiring story of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, hard work, trust, faith and finally intense love and care for human life and dignity that the readers of this blog have come to know and admire.  I have witnessed closely the degree of self-education Hayley and Robert have had to undertake in order to nurture Natalia in the best possible way. 

Recently,  after I had not seen Natalia for quite some time, I spent an afternoon with her - baby sitting basically, while Hayley took Mia out for the afternoon.  We played, did art work, read books and watched films.  It struck me afterwards that I was completely unaware I was dealing with a 'special needs' child.  I had forgotten about her disability completely.  

She was reading school books intended for her age, knew which videos she wanted to watch, knew how to operate the computer to play them, expressed her likes and dislikes, and in short was a child like any other, albeit one who was in some ways a couple of years younger than her chronological age. 

She related to me and accepted me but would not hesitate to exert her will.  I believe this is because Hayley and Bob, whilst providing for her  physical and educational needs in every way, actually treat her in the same way as her sister around the house. They did not lower their standards in terms of discipline and social etiquette.   She was delivering what had been expected of her.  I was struck by this.  It affected me greatly. "


  1. I came across your blog the other day & have really enjoyed it! As a younger sister of a big bro (age 30, almost 31) with downs...from a young age i was brought up with kids of all abilities and needs - going along to speech classes....(my mum tells me she had to stop taking me as i used to try and shout the answers over my 5 year old brother :), i used to get shouted back into the house from playing when no one could understand him and i was the only one who could, and i thought it was so strange, as he was so easy to understand!, we still look back on all these things with a smile... but he was brought up the same as me, we went to the same primary school part of the time..and had the usual sibling relationship, he had more patience than i imagine most big brothers would've had, but it taught me to have patience too, i grew up understanding there are different people in the world, but to accept everyone as they are, and that's how i am and always will be...he has grown into a gentleman and a fantastic man (thanks to my parents, and his personality). Natty is so cute! Will look forward to future entries :)

    1. This is so delightlful to read. I have goosebumps. Thank you x
      You might like to read the post Natty's 8 year old sister Mia wrote about her. Touching.

  2. This post is so so true! We were lucky enough to spend some time out of school with Natty and her big sister Mia last week (Natty goes to school with my daughter). Not for one moment throughout the evening did I 'remember' that Natty had special needs (other than discussions with Nattys mum!). Natty played so lovely with her sister and my two children - she had so much love to give to my two year old and helped him join in to be one of the gang! Not for one moment did I look at them playing and think anything other than four children playing, having fun, being children! Natty does not expect to be treated in any way other than the norm and it is fantastic that she has such amazing parents (and big sister) that enable her to do this! She follows the same rules, is one of the most polite children I have met & one of the most caring! Her will to complete a task she has started without assistance is amazing - she wanted to put chloes shoes on for her and although Joshi was trying to help her she simply said 'No Joshi Natty do this' and she did and was very proud of herself that she had helped her friend! I am not too proud to say that I have learnt a lot from spending time with Natty & Mia!

  3. Hi! I work with the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and I just wanted to say… well done on being voted as a finalist!!! The finalists are listed here:

    Feel free to email me for more information :)

    1. Thank you all at Britmums for giving me the opportunity to continue spreading the word that Down's Syndrome is not to be feared. I don't want anyone else to feel as deperate as I did (out of ignorance) in those early weeks.


Thank you for joining in the conversation at Downs Side Up