For our blogger spotlight we feel absolutely priveleged to be able to share the story of ‘Coraline and Us‘ – the incredible journey of a family who are using their blog to discuss the challenges, joys, highs and lows of their life with their daughter Coraline.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Liz.
The day I began writing about Coraline was a Wednesday when she was three days old. I was sat in our hospital room where we were to be for a week, on an August day, the rain pouring outside. Her diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome within hours of her birth was a jolt to me. I could not move my head from one reality to the next. Tears, tears, tears, tears, tears. On that day Kevin had taken her in an ambulance in a little incubator to the Evelina Children’s Hospital for them to run tests on her heart, as about half of children with Down’s Syndrome have a heart condition. She was diagnosed there with two holes in the heart, which they said will require an operation in the future.
From the moment of her birth (and of course before) Kevin was the incredible man I know he is. He was love, love, love and full of excitement about our daughter and care for us both. He told me to feel my feelings and that they would pass and he told me he knew they would change because of how beautiful she was. He was right. This is how he announced the news of her arrival to our families and they, following his tone, responded with words of excitement and joy at her arrival.
But back to me that day she was born, and the tears, and the state of incomprehension. I remember with such vividness declaring to Kevin on the night Coraline was born, “I will never look at life in the same way again”. I am writing about her, because I did not need to feel this way.
I did not know then what these words would come to mean. What they mean is that I feel an intense connectedness with the world because of Coraline. I look at the world now from a whole other layer of being, as though we belong, and as though we are really interacting with all the people around us in a real way.
Coraline brings this depth out. Veneers fall away. She just brings to me a much richer experience of life. One in which I now walk around with my eyes open, as if I really am rooted amongst other people, and they are rooted amongst us. I care about other people. I always did. But I notice much more. I realise much more what considerations other people might have, or what they might be going through. I feel a deep understanding, happiness and peace within which she has brought us, and I feel we radiate this.
Coraline has taught us and our family so much about living. I feel that these nine months have taken me to a level of life I had not accessed before, and would not have without Coraline.
So I will look back at myself now smiling and say those words again now, “I will never look at life in the same way again”.
What is life like with Coraline? It’s a total joy. We love her dearly and rejoice in all the things she does and her little mannerisms. There’s just a lot of love in our house. Yes, we know there will be challenges but we are ready to face them, as they are ours to face. There’s so much to learn developmentally for Coraline which is why I am excited to be able share that with others on the Blog. We have had our moments, and those moments make us dig into the essence of ourselves. For me it has been getting past expectations held and getting past comparisons, or what anyone else might think. We know it all comes back to attitude. All our friends and family love reading about Coraline.
Writing? Well this came easily as I have always loved to write. I am a big letter writer to friends and family. I love the feeling of the flow of words and writing. I have often dreamed of being a writer. All of a sudden there is a time to channel this writing energy, and the words just come.
What I have struggled with is when my Blog has begun to expand slightly more than just friends. It suddenly makes you nervous that other people are reading it. There’s a fear. I have spent my career working in Cultural Relations, which I think is the perfect backdrop for what I am hoping to achieve now through my Blog. Only through knowing another person truly, can you change your perspective. This is what our programmes at work did; by linking people up across countries and cultures, friendships form and perspectives are shared and gained.
So the way I write is simply to lay our life out there, with the aim that a slice of that energy will find its way out to all those who may be touched by it. I’d like to raise awareness. My values, which underpin each post, are: Love, Health, Acceptance, Kindness, Appreciation, Gratitude, Joy, Trust in Life, Openness and Authenticity. The reasons I am writing the Blog, which underpin each post, are: To Celebrate Coraline, to share our love for Coraline, to learn from each other, to change perspectives, to raise awareness, to create understanding.
I know it’s what I would like to read, if I look back at myself in that hospital. I did not know anything then, and through my writing I wanted to show others the absolute beauty of our lives, and all that can come to you when you release, and let go to life and embrace it. You can read so much about what might happen, but nothing compares to your own reality which you live. I have always been fascinated by psychology, and how you can really change your life by the way you choose to think about things, and have had an amazing life-coach who shifted my whole way of being. She once said to me I would share with others what she taught me. I am doing just that as often, when I write, something she has taught me comes out in the words I am saying. So actually the blog is also about a life approach, which I think is why people identify with it.
Life with Coraline is unexpected but it is an utter joy. She has the most beautiful tranquil spirit and we have met incredible Paediatricians, and medical professionals and new friends, and had many conversations in shops. It has been wonderful. We know we may have different considerations but we are 100% ready for them. My partner Kevin is love personified, so Coraline and I are in good hands.