Try not to worry too much about "losing" your identity. While you may shed layers of your former self, you are creating a new existence. Adapting to your new life can be lonely in the early months, but know that nothing is forever. Your old self might rest dormant for a while, but it will burst into new life, as you become a more evolved version of yourself.
The reality is that most parents just want their children to fit in, to be socially acceptable, thrive at school and yes, be 'normal'. The idea that any difficulties might be due to a labelled syndrome, or 'special needs', is a frightening prospect for most. So, how can you tell if your child is 'normal'?
We know that reading is challenged but there are families in which it still thrives. Our longitudinal study, Reading Street, aims to understand the changing world of children's reading for pleasure. It follows twelve UK families plus a wider number of parents, children and teachers and releases the findings in theme focused chapters.
24 hours after a birth fraught with complications, we were told that the medical professionals thought Seb had Down's syndrome. What should have been the happiest day of my life was the worst. For Simon, my husband, it was very different. He accepted the diagnosis from day one and through all my tears and heartbreak he constantly reassured me that we would cope.
Frustration is a word that all parents are very familiar with and being a paragon of patience and cuddly understanding on days like these can stretch that word to its fullest. It is also on days like these that I am just grateful that I can keep smiling and not end up rocking backwards and forwards while sobbing in the corner.
I hear all the time that the woman has chosen to stay at home and look after the children, while the man has chosen to go to work. Given all these overt and subtle pressures, I wonder whether these are really free choices at all. The only solution is for men to actively take up the mantle of childcare, right from the very earliest days of our children's life.
We already know the causes of teenage pregnancy and, yet, the UK is following the US's path with parents demanding the right to prevent their children learning about real sexual education. The destruction of the welfare state and universal healthcare is already having serious detrimental effects on families
Summer is looming on the horizon and the usual applications for summer holiday contact are piling up on lawyer's desks and in the lists of County Courts up and down the land. Mediators are beginning to see their first lot of seasonal cases based on how much time children should spend during the long summer holidays with each parent and where that time should be spent.
Few events in the political calendar underline quite so graphically the power of the government and the impotence of the opposition as much as the Queen's speech. Backed by all the pomp and finery the British state can muster, the Gracious Address, to give it its proper title, affords the government the opportunity to draw a line under past difficulties, and turn a somewhat dry recitation of its legislative programme into a demonstration of its political priorities. The shadow cabinet should seize on this year's Queen's speech to provide its own 'shadow Queen's speech' as a way of demonstrating how Britain could be different under Labour.