When my little girl was born with Down's, I felt like I'd given birth to an alien and just wanted to get rid of her
Does have a happy ending:
‘The words Down’s syndrome hit me like a punch to the stomach,’ says Loretta. ‘I know it’s not a politically correct thing to say and you’re supposed to love your baby no matter what, but all the maternal instincts that had overflowed at the joy of my baby’s birth simply died.
‘Instead, I felt nothing but coldness. I couldn’t even hold her or feed her. I told the midwife to get this thing away from me. I was totally distraught.
‘Ignoring pleas from nurses to stay in bed, I dragged myself into the bathroom, put the shower on at a freezing temperature and lay there sobbing, curled up on the floor of the cubicle. I felt I was trapped in my worst nightmare, and somehow thought the coldwater, like needles stabbing into me, would bring me out of it.
...All I could think was I’d been cursed and that I couldn’t imagine coping with a disabled child, let alone what I regarded as the stigma of having one.’
...‘To me at that time, she wasn’t a baby, she was an alien,’ admits Loretta, ‘and, appalled as I am to admit it, I was just heartbroken and ashamed that I didn’t have a proper baby.
‘Of course I feel guilty about my behaviour now, but at the time I was so shocked I simply couldn’t cope in any other way.’
'Feelings of bitterness and loss just seemed to engulf me. It was as if the baby I had dreamed of had died. Suddenly, I couldn't bear to look at or even touch her, I just wanted to be away from her.
'Charlie was as devastated as me and the next five days were terrible. Charlie would pick Grace up, but then say he couldn't imagine making a life with her. "If we have her adopted we could try for a normal baby," he told me. And, though I know it will sound horribly callous, I felt the same way.
'If the nurses brought Grace anywhere near my room, I would tell them: "Just take her away, I don't want her".
'Charlie even contacted social services. "They said we could have her fostered," he said. The social worker even arrived with papers ready to sign Grace over - although thankfully they decided I was in too much of a confused state to sign anything then.
'I was so distressed that in the end doctors gave me sedatives to calm me down.
I just feel blessed to have such a beautiful baby.
'She has given me the strength to cope on my own and to do what I thought was impossible for me - to love a disabled child.'