"God never gives you more than he knows you can handle”
Comforting words from the Bible but with the events that would unfurl for me and my family they were words that didn’t seem realistic or possible for me to believe.
Up until 2 years ago I thought I had a pretty uneventful normal but still wonderful life. I had a loving, caring family and friends who were always there for us. My husband and I had 2 children now married with 3 grandchildren between them and whom we all treasured. So 2 years ago, when my son, Matthew and daughter in law Jodi, announced they were expecting twins we were all delighted. The twins we found out a little later were identical girls and so they became affectionately known as the Twincesses. Finlay, their little boy was 3 years old at the time so we all knew life would get a whole more hectic.
The girls were due to be born in the August of 2011 but complications meant they had to be delivered early at 34 weeks and taken straight into the neo-natal unit at Preston Hospital. It was such a relief when both were successfully born, even though they looked so tiny in the incubators, and wires all over their tiny bodies.
It was 3 weeks later when we would hear the news that Doctors, fearing the girls were not developing as they should, suspected there was a strong possibility that they had Downs Syndrome. Tests were carried out, the results of which would take a week to be back with us. I can’t begin to tell you how long that week felt or what thoughts were flooding our minds. I prayed every day that the girls would be ok and for God to take away our fears of what could and would be if the results were positive.
I’ll never forget the look on Matt and Jodi’s faces when they walked through our door on the Friday evening after being at the hospital all day together waiting for news. They looked frightened, lost, emotionally and physically drained – the results were positive and both of our beautiful girls had DS. We sat in a bewildered silence, no-one knowing what to say or do – just shell shocked, scared and fanatically worried. How would we cope with this – whatever this was? What did it all mean? How would we get through? What would the future hold? We could find no words which would comfort any of us.
I have to admit none of us knew anything about DS, but it all felt very scary. My own thoughts as a grandma were how to protect these vulnerable little girls from a world which can seem, at times, so cold, heartless, cruel and judgemental. I spent sleepless nights preparing for the future that I couldn’t comprehend and so no wonder I never found any answers. I felt as a family we could be there for their every need and protect them while they were children but what would happen when the girls reached adult hood? What would they make of our world but more importantly what would the world make of them? There were so many myths and misunderstandings surrounding this condition that worried me to death. Fortunately, I have since learned that most of those worries are simply that – myths and misunderstandings and I also found out that spending so much in the future worrying what might be, stops you from living in the here and now and missing so much of life which is good. Before the girls came out of hospital we had it confirmed that Abigail was deaf and Isobel had a hole in her heart!
God never gives you more than he knows you can handle.
Those words kept coming back to me – but I felt I couldn’t handle all this hurt and confusion and fear that was happening.
However the day after we had the news, I had a message from Matt inviting his dad and I to visit the hospital with Gemma, our daughter. Still lost and bewildered we arrived at the hospital to be met by Matt with a huge smile on his face, full of excitement and anticipation. We were ushered into a lovely bright room where Matt told us that he had permission to bring the babies in for cuddles and kisses and so we waited for him to bring them in. What has happened we asked Jodi, Matt seems so different? She told us that Matt had broken down when they had arrived home that night and having asked himself the question “Why us?” came back with the answer “Why not us? We have been chosen because we can give the girls the life they need – full of love and fun but most of all an acceptance for who they are”
As he wheeled the girls in, I think we were all touched by his Positivity, his love and commitment for his children – If he could, we could!! He talked excitedly about his vision to set up the Twincess Campaign, and so a Trust fund was set up to prepare for their future.
Visit www.twincess.co.uk to read more about their wonderful journey so far.
Twincess was set up by us – Matt and Jodi Parry after our twin daughters Abigail and Isobel were born with Down’s Syndrome on June 29, 2011.
Twincess is place where families of those with Down’s Syndrome can connect, share, support and celebrate! It is about providing frank and honest advice based on real, personal experience. There’s a lot of negativity around the condition with the focus often being around what children with Down’s Syndrome can’t do. Twincess is about highlighting what they can do.