tell me your story : Julia

Today I share the story of a very beautiful family on my blog. When I first decided to do this series I really hoped Julia would send me her story. I haven’t met Julia or her gorgeous family but the love in this family is so evident and I think Georgia steals the show with her gorgeous smile and is a little doll.  I know you’re going to  love this one and get your kleenex ready. And thank you to Dale Taylor of the heart of living for letting me share these lovely images on my blog too.
Towards the end of my pregnancy with my fourth daughter, I dreamed of what it would be like to have four girls. I dreamed of ladybirds, and butterflies, handing down a magnificent wardrobe to a lucky little girl, and of course, I dreamed of lashings of pink. But the thing that made me smile the most, was the vision of four little bathered bottoms running down the beach near our home.
But as she grew inside my body for 9 months, my little girl carried a secret. A secret she managed to hide from two experienced ultrasound technicians, at 12 weeks, and 18 weeks, who told me that I was having a perfectly healthy little girl. And healthy she was, except for her secret, that if I was to be honest, gave her a chance in this world that I can’t be sure she would have had, if she hadn’t been so good at keeping it.
When she was placed on my chest, at nearly 42 weeks, and a robust 9 pound 11, there was much joy in the room. But it didn’t come from her mother. I knew there was something different about her as soon as I saw her. While the cord was cut, and the midwife and my husband chatted amiably, I frowned at my girl. I think the recognition, the fact that her features were strangely familiar, was there straight away, but to prepare me, my mind shifted it to the back for a few minutes, for half an hour, for definitely less than an hour…and then I saw. I really saw.
I wrapped the blanket a little tighter around her, patted her and told her she would be ok, and quietly announced to the room that she had Down syndrome. At that moment, I always say, I drew a line right down the centre of my life. There would always be Before Georgia, and After Georgia. At that moment our lives, and the lives of our other 3 little girls was changed forever.
As I walked, haunted, through the corridors of the hospital over the next couple of days, my dreams were forgotten. As I dealt with the revelation that she had cataract blindness, and would need an operation at five weeks old to hopefully save her sight. As she was admitted to the special care nursery, and had blood taken for genetic testing that I knew would change nothing. As I sat there and resented the hell out of other mums, who wandered the corridors joyously with their newborns, four little girls in polkadot bathers was the furthest thing from my mind.
People often ask me when my turning point came. I think it was on day 3, when my husband came in and asked me if I had managed any sleep. I said I had, and I had had a strange dream. A dream where I was standing in front of a door, and a midwife told me there were heaps of babies behind the door, and I could go in and take any baby I wanted, and leave mine behind in there. He asked me what I did. And I said I near knocked the woman over, in a bid to get in there and get MY baby. And just like that I knew. That it couldn’t be changed, and I wouldn’t want it to – not if it meant having any other baby than the little girl I had. There was nothing for it, but to get on with it, and have a happy life.
Four and a bit years down the track, I can honestly say that she has enriched our lives in ways we never thought possible, and given us so much joy. She has taught us to be patient, to be brave, to feel joy in the tiniest of milestones, to see life in a completely different way. And to be forever grateful for her secret keeping abilities!
Overcoming grief is a work in progress. It would be dishonest to say I never feel it. Sometimes it creeps up at the strangest of times, and knocks me over, and I just have to wait until it passes. But it is the kind of grief you can live with…just the smallest part of your life, that is mostly about celebrating a beautiful child that is healthy and strong, and incredibly loved.

I worry about my other little girls sometimes. Like it or not, their lives did change on that March day in 2008. The day they came into the hospital, and visited a much anticipated newborn sister, and found her to be a perfectly fine little baby, and thought that everything was as it should be. They adore her unconditionally, and when they ask questions, we answer them honestly, and they shrug, and run away, satisfied. They often refer to taking Georgia to live with them when they move out of home, and always looking after her, and I look at them with a mixture of love, and pride, and a little bit of sorrow. The fact is the responsibility for looking after a sister that will always need some care should not fall to them. But she has given them other gifts that they may not have had. Turned them into little girls that stick up for the underdog, that never tease or belittle, little girls that will grow into strong women with character traits that I would have tried to teach them, but I could never have taught them as well as one little girl with fair hair, and almond shaped eyes.
Georgia is not quite walking yet, and at 4 years and 4 months, that is unusual, even for a child with Down syndrome. I haven’t yet seen four little girls with pigtails, and polkadot bathers running down the beach together, but I know it will happen one day, and when it does, it will be worth waiting for.


  1. WOW, now there’s a story! How absolutely wonderful and honest and… well, wow. Blown away. Tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing Julia.

  2. Corrie, these stories are all so special.

    What a wonderful family and beautiful girls. All of them.


  3. Wow! What an amazing story and so beautifully written. Well done Julia and thank you Corrie.

  4. Thank you so much Corrie…

    And to Julia…I know exactly where you are coming from….I too have a daughter with a disability…the day she was born I knew something was different even though she looks like everybody else…Tears are pouring out now as I am reliving all those moments…

    It is a long road ahead for you all…but you will all learn so very very much from your beautiful girl!!!

    To see a really pognant verse written by a Mother of a child with a disability goggle ‘welcome to holland’…she explains it exactly as it is with much beauty and truth…(alternately I have it on my side bar)

    Thank you for a very heartfelt post…it means so much to me xoxo

  5. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing woman you are Julia. A very moving and grounding story for me to read. Corrie thank you for sharing this amazing family.

  6. What a beautifully written post.

    The nicest bloke I knew in College had a little sister who had Downs. I will never know whether he was the nicest bloke because he grew up with a sister who had a harder road to travel, because he had parents who were generous enough in heart to raise a child with Downs, or a combination of the two, but whatever it was, it made him a star, just like Georgia has been a gift to your family. x

  7. Wow Julia, thanks for sharing. Georgia is lovely. I keep having visions of my unborn keeping that very same secret, as I count down the days, the vision won’t leave my subconscious that the same thing will happen to me.
    And wow, at going into that room and taking any baby you want, but still taking your Georgia with you. Talk about needing tissues! I am a sobbing mess.
    Your photos are lovely.

  8. WOW what a wonderful story, and Georgia is a gift.

  9. What a truly goreous little girl and a beautiful family. Georgia’s smile just warmed my heart beyond words. Thank you so much for sharing xx

  10. What an amazing story and one that touched my heart being a sibling of a down syndrome sister . Beautiful and honest .

  11. Thanks Julia, I have tears in my eyes too and wish you and all your family the best. Thanks Corrie for sharing.

    My mother had, after 5 boys, a little baby girl called Sarah. And when she wrote me to tell me Sarah is a special Downs Syndrome child, she said that “God chose us to have Sarah because we have the strength to give her the best”. Sarah is now in her 40’s,and her brothers care for Sarah dearly as Mum is with God now.

  12. Bless, such words of wisdom right there. I wish this family special things.

  13. Corrie thanks so much for sharing Jules story and Dales most amazing pics. I have had the pleasure if meeting both ladies and they are both amazing! Bron x

  14. This is just a tear-jerker of a story, but so well written and from the heart. Only someone who has lived it could tell it so honestly and with such finesse. Thanks for sharing it and for the photos. Georgia is a darling and a joy, absolutely, but to be a parent with Julia’s worries simply over-whelms.

  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I follow a blog by Kelle Hampton. The site is Her daughter has Down’s Syndrome. She wrote “Bloom”. It’s a wonderful book!

  16. Absolutely beautiful post.Brought tears to my eyes and I reflect on what one of my best friends went through six years ago with one of her twins. Her son also kept his little secret in-utero, his sister , my god-daughter loves him to bits but now understands more about him. As we all do. It is a tough time for the parents (especially the mum) with a down syndrome child. All we as observers can try and do is understand and celebrate those milestones. Best wishes to all these gorgeous families. xo

  17. Julia, your family is gorgeous and Georgia is one of those very special children that touches the heart of everyone she meets ♥

  18. What a lovely family and thank you so much for your beautifully honest post. I think that everything happens for a reason and I’m so glad that little Georgia kept her secret. I have often wondered what I would do if I found out that my unborn child had Downs syndrome at my 12 week scan. In all honesty, I don’t think I could live with the guilt and the what-if’s if I terminated and reading this story is confirmation to me that each and every child is a miracle that enriches a families life. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  19. I use to do voluntary work with Down Syndrome adults, it was the best time of my life. They taught me so much, they have no inhibitions and give so much love. You have been chosen to look after this special little girl because you too are special. Cherish every day with her. All of your girls are beautiful. Hugs Linda

  20. A beautiful family with many tribulations ahead of them. My girlfriend Merrilyn has grown up in a family of four girls just like I did. Her family had many battles just as you have. My girlfriends sister, lyn was born in 1962 without arms or legs, this was the result of thalidomide. This drug effected so many lives, my friends parents were advised to leave Lyn in the hospital and go home and enjoy their other girls, but they also fell in love their baby and have fought for her ever since. She is now an intelligent woman who has many difficulties but leads a wonderful life. I wish you love, patience, strength and many years to enjoy your beautiful little girl.

  21. An absolutely inspiring post, so beautifully written Julia. Georgia is a joy, such a precious little girl, with a radiant smile. She was definitely meant for your lovely family and you were all meant for her. Thank you for sharing a wonderful story xo

  22. Thanks for sharing that story, as a midwife(who has 3 boys myself) I often wonder how families cope with the addition of a child who has Downs syndrome. But all I see from the photos is a family full of love, doing the best they can with what life has given them. Great advertisement for unconditional love xxLisa

  23. Absolutely beautiful x

  24. Thank you.

  25. Beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing your story Julia.

  26. What a gorgeous story:)

  27. Just so beautiful! Julia you have a little treasure there :)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your honest account of your experience. She needs a great Mum like you. Tash

  29. Beautiful and touching! Thank you!

  30. Thank you for sharing…such a sweet and very moving story.

  31. Beautiful story. I held it together and didn’t think I would cry until the end where you are talking about the gifts Georgia has taught the other girls – amazing. x

  32. Georgia was meant to be here and with you … God bless you for the love and strength. They are the most gentle-natured souls… I have a male cousin who has Down Syndrome. He is a joy.

    Thank you for sharing. :)

  33. An amazing story, a beautiful family and yes I sure did need the tissues. Hugs to Julia and family.

  34. Such a heartfelt story.
    Thank you for sharing, Julia.
    You have 4 very beautiful daughters

  35. Thanks everyone for your heartfelt comments on my story. I do have a blog (someone asked about it?)…I think you can get to it by clicking on my profile thingy above….can you tell I am not good at this technology thing! The blog only has five (wordy!) posts, some of which are about Georgia..I haven’t learned how to get pictures into the blog yet! But please, feel free to have a read if you’d like. I must try to post more often – keeping a blog is harder than I thought it would be!

  36. Michele says:

    I have only known this family for just over 16 months. To say they are wonderful, is an understatement!

    I have endured many adversities in my life, but none compare to Jules’s.
    I have had the honour to help care for the girls on the odd occassion when life’s committments are called upon, and I am most fortunate to partake in Georgia’s care every Tuesday afternoon whilst her mother studies @ Tafe.

    She has enriched my life in so many ways, her gentle smiles, her hugs, and the ways she looks at me because she trusts me, makes my heart melt and I feel like I have just won Lotto.

    I have learned many things in my life’s journey, but never such a profound message from this family…”NEVER underestimate the power of Love!!!”

  37. Thank you for sharing x

  38. Anonymous says:

    I loved your beautiful family’s story, thank you for sharing. No doubt your secretive little girl will bring some challenges but an abundance of blessings too that I know you will relish. She is a very lucky girl to be a part of a family that knows so much love. X

  39. Beautiful! There is a little down syndrome boy in my daughter’s class and his is such a gorgeous boy. You can’t help but love him and I think he enriches all those who come in contact with him. Thanks for sharing your story. Jacinta

  40. what a beautiful family you have, and such a touching story – it is wonderful to hear not only the joyous parts but the grief as well – because it is real – and I also think makes all the joyous moments even more precious and treasured! I will be following you on blogger now and hope to see 4 little bathered ones running down the beach soon:)

  41. What a beautiful family, held together by a wonderful Mum and Dad.
    I’m a lucky lady who helps to care for a 67 year old lady living a great life with Downs Syndrome, may your little girl be a blessed as the resident in my CRU.

  42. What a beautiful post. Georgia is so lucky to have the Mummy she has. Julia’s wonderful writing brought tears to my eyes. Hold onto that dream of the 4 little girls in polkadot bathers.

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