Had my daughter, Meg, been born some years earlier, she would not have had her heart operation at 5 months old. Instead, it would have been left until she was 3 or 4 years old in the hope she would have more strength to survive the operation.
Unfortunately, by then much of the damage to the rest of her systems would have been done by years of a heart not working properly, and her life expectancy would have been greatly reduced.
Had Meg been born some years before that, the heart operation would not have been given to a child with Down’s Syndrome, so she would not have lived beyond the age of 7 or 8 anyway.
Had Meg been born some years before that, she may well have been taken away and put in an institution, and it would have been recommended we, the parents, tell the world she died at birth, so as to avoid questions and embarrassment.
Had Meg been born some years before that, she would not have survived her first weeks. Within a day or so of coming into this world, she wasn’t feeding, and was starting to shut down.
However, Meg was born 13 years ago today, when advances in medicine and social understandings allowed us to raise her in a world where she was taken seriously and given equal opportunity to survive and thrive.
And for those past 13 years, Meg has brought lightness and joy not just to our lives, but to all those who have taken the time to get to know her.
My little baby, who would not have lived had she been born in any other era, becomes a teenager today.
Happy birthday Meg x