As I sat myself down at a table surrounded by seasoned BritMums Live bloggers, I spied a packet of tissues. They belonged to a blogger who had come armed and ready for the Bloggers’ Keynote. “How sweet” I thought, as we all chattered away.
I love the blogging community that I’ve found myself part of. I love reading posts from a whole array of different bloggers. Sometimes I find myself crying over my laptop as I read a post. Be it tears of empathy, sympathy or on joyous occasions, laughter. But as I sat waiting for the Bloggers’ Keynote to start, the thought of me dissolving into tears was far from my mind.
How naive. I must guiltily confess that the first wave of tears, the ones that I studiously kept at bay, that I really didn’t want to share with anybody, were for myself. It isn’t easy to watch a beautifully crafted film of three very happy family members eagerly anticipating the arrival of a fourth when you are trying to come to terms with a near miss.
But the arrival of Hayley from Downs Side Up on stage was to change the tracks of my tears. Like electric shock therapy, her passionately delivered words jolted me into remembering how lucky I am. Hayley has two beautiful daughters and one of them, Natty, has Down’s Syndrome. As she stood alone and talked us through the birth and days after the birth of her daughter, Natty, I found myself experiencing a potted version of the gamut of emotions that she herself felt and still feels so intensely.
I felt complete empathy as Hayley recounted the carelessly hurtful words uttered by medical staff at the hospital. Been there, been stung by similarly ill-considered words. But I was lucky enough to bring home a baby who will only have to meet the usual challenges that most parents expect to support their children through. My husband and I were lucky enough to experience people saying the usual well-wishes at the arrival of a new baby girl, albeit a few days later than anticipated.
I read Hayley’s post, What To Say When A Baby Is Born With Down’s Syndrome on her blog a little while back. Her words reached out and connected with me back then. The power of the written word is immense. But what I came to understand at BritMums Live is that you cannot underestimate the powerful effect of having those same words read to you by their author.
I got so much out of attending this year’s event. I gleaned a tonne of great tips from the workshops, I put faces to the names of a bunch of brilliant bloggers that I’ve been chattering away with online for the past few months, as well as catching up with some of the ace bloggers I’d met on previous occasions.
I’ve already mentally scheduled in BritMumsLive for next year. And next year, I will be coming armed and ready with my own packet of tissues for the Bloggers’ Keynote.
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