Downright Joy

Discovering joy in unexpected places – a journey into Down's syndrome, Dyspraxia & Autism


017    Hi, thank you for visiting my blog. I’m Alison and I am married with two gorgeous children. My journey into becoming a parent was not an easy one; taking ten years of heartache, longing and many tears before our first little miracle girl, M, was born, six weeks prematurely, in 2009. She is a miracle for many reasons…not least the time it took to conceive her, but also for the fact she survived a nightmare pregnancy ending with me being very seriously ill, close to death and being admitted to Intensive Care for a week. Many people prayed, including people I’d never met. The doctors were amazing and excelled themselves, I recovered, gave birth and we both live to tell the tale! As I recovered, with a new born baby to adore and focus all my attention on so my dream became a reality. As my baby girl grew so did the desire to give her a brother or sister. This time I fell pregnant fairly quickly and my ultimate dream was finally being fulfilled. I would have a family to call my own. Joy turned to sadness however, when at an early routine scan, problems with the baby were detected. I was told the baby would be unlikely to survive the pregnancy and that if, by any remote chance it did, then it would probably have some kind of syndrome such as Turner’s, Edward’s or Down’s. My world fell apart in an instant. My husband and I tried to come to terms with this  prognosis. That our longed for brother or sister to M would die. We clung to each other and to our faith in God. Abortion was not an option for us, though it was quickly offered. Yet it is one thing to have principles, and another to actually have to stand on them. In my darkest moments in the days that followed, I almost envied women who could take that option. I wanted to run. I wanted it all to be over. Quickly. We made it clear we would not abort our unborn child but at the same time we were very scared of what we believed we were facing.  However, as the pregnancy progressed so the prognosis improved. Weekly scans showed an improving situation and no sign of the various heart defects that were gloomily predicted. By the third trimester, the baby was growing well. This was one determined little girl!

Hazel was born in September 2011. We were overjoyed, but our joy was short lived. Within an hour of her birth it was clear that our baby was not well. Our fears from earlier in the pregnancy loomed large in the recovery suite. Though no one actually confirmed it, we knew. Our beautiful little girl had Down’s Syndrome. What should have been a time of joy and happiness as we bonded with our new addition became a sorrow filled time. We tried once again to come to terms with this news; not helped by the tone of the medical staff caring for us – it was a week before anyone said ‘congratulations’ to me in the hospital. No one had anything positive to say, only ‘I’m sorry’.  Holding together feelings of overwhelming love for this helpless little human life, trying to keep warm in her incubator and feelings of sadness.  Why did our baby have to have Down’s Syndrome? This must be a mistake. God had got it wrong. He didn’t mean for us to have a child with disabilities. Surely. That was not part of the dream.  Yet that first night, as she lay next to me in her incubator, I fell head over heels in love and a new dream began. When I woke the next day, however it felt more like a nightmare as Hazel was taken from me, very seriously ill and sent to another hospital 40 miles away. I was not well enough to go with her at first, but after a few days I was well enough to travel and so followed many weeks of travelling each day to be at her bedside before she was finally allowed home. Years later and our lives have changed beyond all recognition. Both girls have additional needs; as well as Down’s syndrome we have since added diagnoses of Dyspraxia and Autism into the family mix! Yet one emotion overrides it all. Joy. Joy in the most unexpected places and all because of a little girl with Down’s Syndrome and her wonderful big sister. And my hope, in writing this blog is that it may help other parents who have received the news that their baby may have Down’s syndrome. That it will offer them hope; a hope I was not given at the time. That they may realise far sooner than I did that having a child with an extra chromosome is most definitely something wonderful, not something to fear or be sad about. In the words of my GP – ….”you will meet some amazing people, it will be an incredible journey.” 

7 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there! My name is Kristi Campbell and I’m a special needs blogger. As my son Tucker has gotten older, I’ve not wanted to share about him as much so a friend and I started a new site for parents who have children with special needs and I’d LOVE to feature some of your previously published content there. You can find us at
    Thank you for your consideration!


    • Hi Kristi, thanks for your message. Your website is great and I have bookmarked it to read some more of the stories on it. I am very happy for you to use some of my posts if you feel they are appropriate for your site. Thanks, Alison.


  2. You are a beautiful, beautiful writer. I am so glad to have found you Alison x


    • Ahh thanks Rach! I believe they say it takes one to know one though! I am drawn to your ‘Opinion Corner….it made me smile…and I have book marked it to read through when the kids are in bed! Thank you so much for engaging with me earlier, really appreciated x


  3. Hi Alison,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Downright Joy has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Down Syndrome Blogs on the web.

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Down Syndrome Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.



  4. Hi Alison,

    Your writing is beautiful and so important. Thank you.
    I am the Managing Editor of Adamah Magazine, and we wanted to reach out to you to see if you would be interested in writing an article for us on this important topic – in the reflective, constructive and caring way you write? If you’re interested to know more please drop us an email: and have a look at our editorial guidelines here: and website here:
    Thank you! Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment with such lovely words.
    I will email you shortly regards your question. Best Wishes, Alison


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