Becoming a mum aged 24 was so exciting. I had been married a year, I took the sleepless nights in my stride and adored the smiles and giggles of my baby boy. Pregnancy and birth, though challenging, was wonderful and I anticipated going through it again. Then, with a seven month old baby to care for, I found myself pregnant and the initial period of excitement continued through to the birth of my second child when I was 25 years old.
This enduring excitement forcefully ceased within seconds after birth, as my daughter was brought to me for the first time. While my husband and the medical staff present during my Caesarian were elated with the news, I stole my first glance at my baby girl and froze. My daughter had Down's syndrome.
A very sad and anxious year later, at the age of 26, I sat motionless in the office of a clinical psychologist, as we were informed that our two and a half year old son had Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
There is much talk in society today about the facilities available to children with special needs. This is a considerable improvement in comparison to how these children were ‘handled’ only a few years ago. Yet understanding what it actually feels like as a parent, to find out that your child has special needs, is still a taboo subject. Not many people would openly admit that they have battled with prejudice tendencies, harbored anger and resentment, nor would they like to publicly acknowledge that in fact they have felt ashamed and embarrassed of their situation.