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Things I know now that I didn't know then

I know that the world is an amazing place and that it owes this to its diversity.

I know that if it was inhabited purely by a white homogenised western society of high achievers it would be a very dull place indeed; that to remove a person simply because they look or think differently is like picking out vibrant strands of a rich and ancient tapestry, leaving it gaping and washed-out.

I am saddened that pre-natal testing still tends to be used as a search-and-destroy tool for weeding out potential members of the human race that don't conform to our modern society's ideal; as if the perfect human being we all yearn to produce cannot possibly be found in someone with an intellectual disability.

Since Caoimhe's birth I am gentler, on myself and on other people.

Her vulnerability has taught me compassion; her learning difficulties have given me patience.

If I slow down enough I can share her joy at things which I long ago stopped noticing.

The way the sun melts at bedtime still surprises and delights her; watching the stars poke holes in the sky together elicits shouts of delight and not all of them hers.

My past is a place I like to revisit: the wearing of smart clothes, career events, parties.

I have developed a greater appreciation for what was once taken for granted, because they are occasional and welcome distractions from the very real job of raising Caoimhe.

Motherhood is sacrificial, but never more so when your child has additional needs.

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I now have an understanding of mortality, of the passage of time, of the importance of raising a new generation, which is emotionally as well as physically healthy, while trying to remain so myself, and how bloody hard it all is.

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