Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Back in 2002, when I was expecting my second child, I was 36-years-old. My doctor at the time advised me to have an amniocentesis test, which is the form of pre-natal screening we have here in New Zealand. The doctors test for Down’s syndrome by inserting a long needled into the womb and extracting amniotic fluid.


I panicked. I thought what if the results come back as positive? It was a decision I simply couldn’t make. I decided against taking the test.

In New Zealand, we were told at the time, one in 600 babies were born with Down’s syndrome.

In the UK, between 1989 and 2012, 20,000 babies were diagnosed through the new non‐invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). Of these, 92% were aborted. And, being classified as a ‘severe disability’, abortion can take place right up until birth.


I’m so glad I somehow found the strength to resist the pressure of the medical professionals around me at the time, because my second son was born with Down’s syndrome. Sam-the-man, The Sam. As my mother said at the time, he has more God in him than anyone else. It’s true. It bothers me deeply to think of the pressure I was put under during the early stages of my pregnancy to get tested.

The NIPT is expected to drastically improve the rates of diagnosis of Down’s syndrome in England, which they project will result in 102 more babies with the syndrome being detected each year. When abnormality is detected, the only counselling offered to women after diagnosis is usually heavily pointed towards abortion. In Britain, the only counselling charity the National Health Service directs women to is, Antenatal Results and Choices, formerly known as Support Around Termination For Abnormality.


These sad facts came to light recently, through actress Sally Phillips recent BBC documentary; ‘A World without Down’s syndrome?’ The acclaimed actress, mother to a daughter with Down’s syndrome, dared to ask the question, ‘What’s so dreadful about Down’s syndrome?’ Phillips travels the world and speaks to various people, including, ‘Emma’ who despite having been firm in her decision not to be tested for the condition ‘had to constantly justify her decision to medical practitioners.’

Why do we need to justify wanting to keep our unborn child?

On the award-winning Down syndrome blog, Downs Side Up, Hayley Goleniowska has a mission. That of ‘Gently changing perceptions of Down syndrome from within people’s hearts.’


This mama is speaking my language.

Hayley: My mission is now to inspire new parents, show the world that many incredible things are possible for our children, and shout out that Down’s syndrome truly is wonderful and that life will carry on, there will be challenges, but you will not regret or wish to change any of it. 

You go, Hayley!

Her daughter, Natty, was the first child in Britain with a disability to appear in a Back to School Campaign.

Our youngest daughter Natty is a clothing model, pioneering for children with disabilities everywhere. She is a true ambassador in her own right, opening doors and forcing companies to be more inclusive in their approach to advertising.


The writer, Ciarán Kelly commented sagely on the issue. ‘The new NIPT test has its roots in the Idea that some people’s lives have little or no value and therefore should be screened out from society. This is profoundly wrong. Unborn children are perhaps the most vulnerable people in our world and need to be protected. All human beings are made in the image of God and have a special, intrinsic value regardless of how young or how old, how able-bodied or disabled they might be. This does not apply only to those with Down’s syndrome. Neither does it apply only to those whom parent, family or society has deemed ‘makes a contribution’. It applies to us all.’ ~ Ciarán Kelly

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Exactly. When something happens to one of us it happens to all of us. I had an incident happen within my own family this week, where I had to stand up and defend Sam against a member of the general public. And it made me aware once again of how little people really understand about these amazing gentle people. It’s such a shame. We are none of us, not Trump in the White House nor Natty the child Down’s syndrome model, any better than the other. We are all equal. That’s what my son reminds me of every day. We are all human. We all deserve to be here.

What are your feelings on who gets to be human?


Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol


#justaboutcoping, #worldwithoutdowns, #worldwithdowns


‘The value of human life does not lie in its contribution to society at large, or even to the happiness of a particular family’ ~ Ciarán Kelly


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For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

~ Cynthia Occelli


Growth is painful. I’m pushing myself this year, to step outside of my comfort zones. I decided to conquer, once and for all, my fear of public speaking, and what’s happening is I’m growing beyond the former boundaries I had set for myself.

This week I participated in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. I won first place within my club.

My youngest child had come down with a strep throat the night before, therefore I was nerve-wracked, sleep-deprived, and over-wrought. It perfectly exemplified the point of the topic I’d chosen – for my second speech ever for Toastmasters – “The Perils of Parenting!”

This is the transcript of the winning speech! ~


Contest Chair, fellow members,

Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. To do a good job, we, the parents, need help every step of the way. In the old days, the young generation had the wise women of the tribe, the grandmothers, to turn to for advice on these important life matters.

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I invite you to imagine that I’m this tribe’s grandmother, and you are the young people come to listen to my wisdom.

“I want to speak on a subject that should TERRIFY you…the perils of parenting.

New Nat0002

‘But, Grandma,’ you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

 No. Don’t do it.

I’d like you young people to make a list of the “mistakes” your parents made with you – the things you DO NOT intend doing with your own precious child. Then take that list and throw it out. I promise you, when you become a parent, you will do every single thing on that list, probably more than once. Put your baby on a leash in a public situation? Yes, you will do it. Use the television to keep them entertained for more than half an hour? Yes, you will do it. Feed them MacDonald’s for dinner and sometimes hot chips for breakfast? Yes, you’ll do that too.

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“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

No. Don’t do it!

I remember the first time my firstborn let me know who was really in charge.

It was a sunny day in December, 2008. I was eight months along. My boyfriend and I had decided to join our friends on a nice picnic at the Beach.

It wasn’t until we got home that my ankles started to swell. They had gotten badly sunburned and combined with the fluid retention; my feet and ankles were swelling up like rugby balls. I was carried, raja-like by my friends to the couch – where I stayed for three days, swapping my feet between buckets of ice and raising my legs on a dozen pillows, taking painkillers and crying.

And the baby wasn’t even born yet!


I felt a tremor in me waters then.  Like, they do on Jurassic Park, when the liquid in the cup ominously trembles and someone whispers, ‘It’s coming!’

Parenthood doesn’t sound that bad, you say. No? Well, listen to this!

Newborn Nat

The next thing to go when you become a parent is your sense of dignity.

Within eighteen months of my eldest child being born, I had sniffed the business end of my baby in public. I had also gone shopping at Countdown while still wearing my pajamas and my gardening crocs.

You will shout, “Ooh, look, a dog!” or even worse, go, “Woof, woof!” when you see one. You’ll SHOUT OUT every time you see something that could potentially interest a small child. It’s a hard habit to break! I still find myself, saying, “Ooh, look, a truck!” And the boys are 10, 12, and 32.


The next thing to go when you become a parent is your wallet. That hurts the worst of all. My father likes to say, when you’re expecting a baby, to save time, simply start up the automatic payments immediately for half your wages to go to the supermarket and the other half to go to the doctor. Because you won’t see a RED cent for yourself for many years to come!


The marvelous thing about having babies is that every day is a magical new adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. Mostly, what will happen is dealing with dirty nappies, vomit, and sleepless nights.

However, sometimes, gorgeous things happen. Like the first time you witness your child being kind, or, when you get a chocolate-covered kiss, (the milky acids are good for the skin).

But, the next minute, the same beautiful child will stand on your toe, stick their elbow in your eye and drop your Iphone down the toilet. That’s kids, for you.

Nat & Phil

So I say to you young people brimming with hope, that parenting is full of perils and woe, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have boy babies like I did. You will suffer! You will curse. You will raise a pointed finger to the sky and cry, “Why?”

You’ll give everything you have to your child and still give more…until you’re nothing but a shriveled up pile on the floor. When your child will ask you, “What’s for dinner?”

boys & Phil0002

So, I say to you, ‘Parenting is not for the faint-hearted.’

“But, Grandma,” you ask me. Go on – ask me, ‘What about having babies?’

Yes, of course you must do it!

One day, when you’re old enough, you’ll have babies of your own. You have to!

Because, while having kids may be hard work, I hear having grandchildren is absolutely wonderful!

Thank you.

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Keep Striving!

Talk to you soon,

Yvette K. Carol


One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. ~ Henry Miller