Emily Perl Kingsley wrote about the changes to life when you have a child with a disability as a trip to Holland when you have always wanted to go to Italy, and you had planned your trip to Italy. Now having been to both Italy and Holland I can tell you that although they are both very different, in the important ways they are the same. they are both countries in Europe that speak a different language to me, both cities have shops and bars and restaurants that are both similar and different to what I am used to. When I went to Italy I was travelling alone, the locals were friendly and the cities I visited were beautiful, full of architecture and charm, the rail system was excellent travelling from one city to another. Although on my own I felt safe and confident to go into restaurants on my own. I really enjoyed my time there and would love to go back. My trip to Holland was different but also enjoyable. I travelled with a group of friends, we went on the ferry from Tyneside. The city was again full of architecture, it was very picturesque and we sat in cafes along the canal banks enjoying drinks. Again it was a lovely break and I would definitely visit again.
But having a child is not like either of these, as having a child is for life not just a few days. I count my self as being very lucky in having had two healthy well adjusted children who now live their own lives with their partners. I am very proud of my children and the choices they have made. I cannot imagine how different my life would be if my children had a disability, but I do know both from life experiences, talking to friends and having done the research I have, that I would still have loved my children, the moments that make me proud would be different but just as important, and my life as I know would be very different.
So ultimately I would not care, after the initial shock, if I was in Holland or Italy, both of them have their beauty and differences to share, both have wonders and beauty. Make the most of what you have, live your life to the fullest and count every positive step as a win.