Stark reminder of how far we have come

I am awake in the early hours of the morning again, so I decided to watch ‘Call the Midwife’ on iPlayer and I was not expecting to be greeted with the emotional roller coaster that greeted me. It is set in the 1960s  and follows a community widwifery service. In this week’s episode, a lady gave birth to a daughter with disabilities – her limbs were not fully developed. The nurses and father’s initial reactions were shocking – they hoped that the malformed baby would die during her first night and the father would not accept the ‘monster’ in his home.

Of course it is sentimental drama and they all came to love the baby, Susan, and her mother fought for her and taught her siblings to fight for her if she were ever bullied or even stared at. But her motto has a strong ring of truth to me ‘Be grateful for what you have got and not what you have not got’.

I am thankful that Joshua was born in 2001 and not the 1950s or 60s, less enlightened times , when a disability was clearly a curse and when the disabled were often forced to live their lives in an institution. If people could see the joy for life that Joshua has, despite his difficulties and the challenges that he faces, they might re-consider some of the judgements that they make. Yes Joshua’s life would have been so different if he had not been born with brain damage, but nobody who knows him could not say that he does not have a loving spirit and a sense of fun, which makes us lucky to have him in our family.

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