I am S is for Special – Happy World Down’s Syndrome Day

It’s World Downs Syndrome Day. ❤❤

It’s a day to celebrate the extra chromosome that makes some people just a little bit more special.
One of the first images I saw on Facebook today was of my good friend Lee Gooch’s handsome little superhero, Noah.

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And oh! How it melted my heart.

What an angelic, gorgeous and perfect little face.  There is mischief in those eyes and he has his Daddy wrapped around his little finger by the looks of this. (Image shared with permission as always)

This image, like all of the beautiful images on my Timelines today, melts my heart, not only because of the joy it shows, but also because of the memories it provokes in me.

Lee and his family are blessed.

I know this, because my family too were blessed.

Actually, we still are.

A child with Downs Syndrome isn’t just their extra chromosome.

A child with Downs, is special.
Special in every sense of the word.
My own Aunty Carmel was special.
She was beautiful, mischievous and intelligent. She held more love in the tip of her finger than ANYONE I have ever known. She was witty, bold and an absolute rascal, loving nothing more than to get the craic going with whoever was visiting.

She loved to dress up, adored The Rose of Tralee and loved to dance.  Every single person who walked through the door of my Grandparents’ home, fell head over heels in love with her. She was the most head-strong, determined and fearless Ladybelle I’ve ever met.  She kept our family on our toes.


And she taught me many lessons.

The main one being that we are all different and that different is good.
I remember being in the Shopping Centre with her and my other Aunty when I was about 5.

Other kids were staring at Carmel. It was the first time I realised that she was different because I suddenly became aware of other people’s reactions to her.

Her reaction to one teenage boy who stopped to look at her? She stuck out her tongue at him, laughed her hearty laugh and waved at him mischievously as we pushed her past.😂😂
There and then, I was proud of her. Even at that young age, she taught me that you must NEVER let anyone bring you down, that you must be YOU, and that there IS no other You to be.
She was perfect.

She was the strongest woman I ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Carmel had no tolerance for nonsense, seeing the world without political correctness or prejudice. She also had no filter! (I take after her like that!)  She simply saw people.  She recognized and delighted in kindness. She had no time for people who were not kind.

She was more brave and more caring and more wonderful than I could ever put into words and I miss her every day.

She was indeed my Special Aunty, but for so many more reasons than her Downs Syndrome.

Special doesn’t even start to describe her or the love that she gave or more importantly, the love that she demanded.

Love.

Pure and true…

Like the love on wee Noah’s face in that photograph and every day.
A family who have been blessed with an extra chromosome, know a love that is beyond words.
So there.

We miss Carmel every day and she lives on in our hearts and in our memories. Knowing and loving her is responsible for so much of who I am today.  I may have inherited her intolerance to nonsense… 😉

And I send my love and respect to every single family who are fighting every day for the rights of Downs Syndrome children, and who are helping to make people realise that the “S” in DS should not stand for “Syndrome”…

It stands for “Strong”.

It stands for “Smile”

…and it stands for Special.

#worlddownsyndromeday #smile #love #special

(Lee has given me permission to post this pic. Thanks Lovely. And kisses to Noah and his beautiful Mummy and big brother too.)

Are YOU rocking the socks today? You can support Down’s Syndrome Ireland by posting with #LotsofSocks4DSI

My girls and I rocking our socks today for World Down’s Syndrome Day

You are Now Approaching Station Baby Brain

You are now approaching Station Baby Brain…

Imagine a train network.  (Yeah I know that this is an alien concept to us up here in Donegal, but hey!)

Your brain is like this: a series of tracks, each with a destination and with all sorts of trains on them.  On any given day, millions of thoughts and signals travel through this network.

You are the Mammy Train.

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Most days, we have so many things to do and stations to visit that we wonder if we’ll have enough steam to get it all done!

We recall information and remember things by reversing back to a station we’ve already been in.

We learn how to do things by going to a new station and continuing on and on.

Sometimes, we turn onto a new track and realise we should have been on it all along.

Sometimes, we need to get off a track asap.

We keep going everyday, sometimes not having a clue where this particular track is going to take us. But always chugging on.

Some days are like rush hour.  Every track is moving, it’s fast and furious and how all of the trains manage to NOT crash, is a miracle.  (Most days if we’re honest!)

 

Other days are slow and quiet with just a functional service running.

But there’s a magical station that is known only to Mums.

It’s the station called Baby Brain.

It sometimes appears on the track during pregnancy and appears more and more frequently in the early months of exhaustion fog.

You start a sentence and can’t remember what you were going to say.

You forget people’s names.

You go into the shop to get…something.  You just can’t remember what that something is.

You forget words.  Yes, actual words that you have used your whole life, evade you when you are at Baby Brain station.

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Baby Brain station is derelict.  It’s grey and brown and draughty and cold. Tumbleweed blows by on the platform which is full of Mums staring into cupboards, trying to remember why they opened it, or of the Mum who is looking for the phone she has in her hand.

Thankfully, it’s only a temporary stop and often, your Mammy train is back on track and functioning after only seconds there.

But the station ever goes away.  I thought that Baby Brain was a temporary thing.  Turns out, many years into Motherhood, my train pulls up at Baby Brain Station more frequently than I care to.

I forget names.  All the names.  Always have, but it’s worse since I had the girls.

My “Somewhere safe” has become synonymous with “Never to be seen again”.  If I tell The Him that I put something “somewhere safe”, he rolls his eyes, knowing that I may as well have emailed it to fecking Narnia.  It shall never grace daylight again.

I often walk into a room and genuinely have to wonder why I came in in the first place.

I remember doing things, but doubt if I am remembering planning to do them or actually doing them.  Have you ever replied to a message or email in your head, but never actually typed the reply?

I’ve put the beige food in the oven but not turned it on more times than enough.

I could list all of the silly things that Baby Brain has made me do, but I’d be here all day.  I’d be parked up at that station trying to find my keys for the the train and trying to remember where I was going in the first place.

The station never goes away.  And really, we should rename it shouldn’t we.  Because it’s not “Baby Brain” really.  It lasts way beyond the Baby phase.

Let’s call it what it is and stop blaming the poor kids!

It’s Mammy Brain and whether you like it or not, your Mammy train will continue to pass through it until you are no longer chugging.

Now, what was I saying?

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I am Suddenly Remembering Mum

Women are incredible.

I think there’s a slight truth in the old myth that we can choose what we want to remember, and forget, about pregnancy and childbirth. Let’s be honest. If we couldn’t selectively block out things, there’s a good chance we’d all refuse to ever go through it again and we’d eventually run out of tiny humans on our messed up little planet. 🙂

Last night, I was reminded of one of the things about being pregnant that I have obviously blocked out, when my good friend who is expecting told me she’s off work with Pelvic Girdle Pain…

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At the mention of it, I crossed my legs and stopped short of kicking The Him out of the bed and into the spare room, or dog box… or wherever!

Jeeeeeeeeeesus, even the thought of it as I type has my ovaries tying themselves in knots…

I remember the first day my Pelvic pain kicked in on my first pregnancy.  The Him and I had gone to Belfast to the Christmas Markets.  I was walking through the stands when I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t physically move.

There and then, I was certain that had I taken one more step, my ladybits were going to end up on the ground. I felt like someone was sticking a burning hot poker into my pelvis. I was convinced that my entrails were about to be outtrails.

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I scared the bejaysus out of Himself. I don’t really remember how, but he got me shuffled to the nearest taxi and back to the hotel. After a terrified phone call to my Midwife-on-call (or Aunty! I’m not THAT special. haha!), she calmed me down and prescribed a long sleep and a trip to the physio the next day.

Panic over and insides still inside, I did indeed relax, but did the pain go away? Did it feck!  I got an appointment with a physio next day and she gave me the most fablis, sexiful and incredible invention ever… a girdle belt.

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It saved my ass.  Literally.  I wore it religiously, took smaller steps when walking and generally behaved my pregnant self, sleeping with a mahoosive pillow between my legs and following the physio’s advice. Thankfully, it didn’t get any worse.  Apparently it CAN get worse, a LOT worse.  I want to puke even imagining how it could have been worse if I’m honest. It was bad enough as it was!

It was horrific. The pain was shocking. The whole experience was enough to put me off ever wanting to experience anything like it ever again!

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So yes, even typing this has my Ladybits throbbing in terror. I want to fly to England and give my buddy a hug.  Instead however, I’ll send her a virtual hug and remind her that it’ll all be worth it in a few months when she holds her wee munchkin in her arms.

I’ll also remind her that she’ll soon not even remember the pain she’s in right now…until someone reminds her of it in the future.

And that someone will NOT be me!

Now, it might be time to hit those Christmas Markets in Belfast again? And maybe this time I’ll get past the gate!

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