Happy Birthday to Downs Side Up! What a Year!

We are one year old today! 

On the 24th of November 2011, I wrote my very first post Blank Blog Blindness. Afraid of who would criticise, certain no-one would read it and unsure of the form the blog would take, I nervously sent my personal thoughts anonymously into the ether.

A year on and we have come so very far!
It's been an organic journey that has taken us by the hand. It's been cathartic. The people we have met, the inspirational stories we have heard, the teams we are now a part of amaze me. Downs Side Up took on its own persona.
The ups, the downs, the trolls, the media, the TV, the children, the nominations, the awards, the competitions, learning about Facebook and Twitter and far too many social media networks to keep up with, doing radio interviews at 30 minutes notice, a snog with Dr Hilary Jones and Natty breakdancing with dance troop Flawless. But mainly the doors that have opened, the minds that have been enlightened, the families that have been inspired, the support network I am proud to have become a part of.
Public speaking, cover girl, national press, Daybreak, Dr Hilary, modelling, Flawless.

In truth Downs Side Up has taken on a life of its own, become a full time (very much unpaid) job, a labour of love if you like. Spokes eminate from its core; public speaking, modelling, writing articles, but all with one aim... to gently change perceptions of Down's Syndrome from within hearts

To celebrate I have decided to make a little video of my most popular post (by a long shot) for those of you who haven't met me. You know, the post I read at Britmums Live and had 500 writers and publishers in tears ;) Yes, that one. What to Say When a Baby is Born with Down's Syndrome. Read the post with additional links to support groups here.

I attach a few of the high moments of the year, and end by saying the biggest thank you to you all, for helping me to spread awareness, to educate and support, to include and love.  Together we are a strong, formidable force to be reckoned with.

Here's to the year ahead. We're not sure where we are going, but we have a long way to go. I am so glad to have you along for the journey x


  1. Well done you! Watching that video brings back memories of 500 women (and a few men) with tears in their eyes. You should be proud. Here's to next year. x

    1. Tears rolling down their cheeks, on to the floor, into their wine, on their frocks! Proper sobbing at our table!

      And poor cafe bebe trying to follow on, bless her!

      Great moment!

    2. Oh gosh yes, I still feel a bit guilty about making everyone so emotional!

  2. Happy first birthday!

    I started following you early on, and am so glad to have been there watching your blog develop.

    You have done an amazing job, not only with raising awareness of Down's Syndrome but also for me, personally, helping with things like breast feeding babies in special situations, and term babies in the NICU.

    You are one of those bloggers who has a beautiful personality that shines in everything she does.

    I am so blessed to have met you personally and look forward to watching you grow in the coming year.

    Thank you for being you, and for blogging. You are a gift.

  3. Lovely video Hayley. It was such a pleasure to meet you at BritMums this year, and I found this post so helpful. Love what you're doing :)

  4. Fantastic article and video. I wish some of our friends and relatives could have heard your blog post when our daughter was born 13 years ago. Keep up the good work, I will "spread the word" about Down's Side Up.

    1. Thank you Caroline. I wish that something like that was around when Natty was born too.

  5. What difference a day makes and it just goes to show that 'yes' one person can make a difference. I first heard about your blog and your journey at BritMums Live this year. Looking at the pics its been full on for you in many wonderful ways. Continue to shine your light. Bring 2013 year of continued success, joy and happiness you and your family.


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