All in the Same Boat - Not Heading to Holland

This week saw the launch of my new regular column over on the Firefly Community, an amazing hub for parents and professionals who work with children with special needs and disabilities. 

Do stop by and join in the conversation, or check out their amazing mobility products

It's a community that is very varied, and it got me thinking about what it is to be a SEND parent, if indeed there is such a thing. 

All in the same boat - not heading to Holland 

We are all so different, as are our children, but yet we share common threads. And then I got to thinking about Welcome to Holland and what it means to me.

I've written before about the story Welcome to Holland by Perl Kingsley, the story that gets handed out on day one to many of us when we become 'special needs parents'. You may know how it goes:

There’s been change in the flight plan and they’ve landed in Holland and that is where you must stay. You must buy new guide books and learn a whole new language. 
The pain of not going to Italy will never, ever go away but if you spend your life mourning the fact you may never be free to enjoy the very special place, the very lovely things… about Holland.

Many parents gain enormous comfort from its words, and perhaps it was just thrust at us too soon, or in a vain attempt to fix everything on day one, but somehow I have always shied away from it. 

I clearly recall simultaneously thinking we’d never travel as a family again, and that it was bitterly ironic to try to explain that to me with a travel story.

Telling us that our life wasn’t heading where we’d planned was crushing to me at that time.  

Now, with high termination rates for babies with Down’s syndrome and a law which allows the euthanasia of disabled babies up to 60 days after birth in Holland, the parallel with landing there seems even more ironic.

So how would I tell my new parent self differently?

All in the same boat, not heading to Holland.

Pop over to Firefly Community - makers of funky mobility products for children - to read All in the Same Boat

Firefly mobility products

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