By Mark Leach, DSAIA Board Member
In the past few years, a number of parents have published memoirs on raising their children with Down syndrome. For this holiday gift-giving season, though, I wanted to call your attention to Amy Julia Becker's A Good and Perfect Gift.
Some of you likely are familiar with Amy Julia and her daughter Penny from Amy Julia's years of blogging. Her posts have been passed around through social media and e-mails precisely because of her compassion in dealing with issues that for many are difficult to express. This same caring attitude runs throughout her wonderful memoir about her pregnancy with Penny and the next few years when Penny welcomes her little brother.
For me, the title A Good and Perfect Gift was perfectly apt. Her memoir was a gift of reminding me of the many memories I have of my own daughter's early years. Reading about expecting Penny, Penny's birth, early intervention therapies, and celebrating Penny's accomplishments brought forth corresponding memories I have of Juliet at that age--memories that become more distant and need to be remembered with each passing year.
Amy Julia also writes eloquently on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) pressure mothers of children with Down syndrome experience in subsequent pregnancies. Society and many in the medical community do not want to see that prenatal testing can be stigmatizing to parents of children with Down syndrome. This is seen particularly when, in subsequent pregnancies, parents are regularly asked whether they've "made sure this time" by having prenatal testing. It is important for Amy Julia to have written about this pressure to have testing.
It is also important that Amy Julia wrote so lovingly about her experience raising Penny. She writes of being changed by Penny, and how too many do not have the opportunity to share the "good and perfect gift" that a child with Down syndrome can be. She resigns herself to trusting "that the story of our family would speak for itself." Her memoir furthers the telling of that story, even in its structure of having 3 parts with a total of 21 chapters. The Beckers' story is one that is common to many of us fellow parents, but uncommon, even "abnormal," for most in society. And that is why giving Amy Julia's new book A Good and Perfect Gift makes for a perfect gift this holiday season. It will introduce your loved ones to a story that will change them, and our society, for the better for individuals with Down syndrome.
To find out more about Amy Julia Becker, visit her website at http://www.amyjuliabecker.com/ . You may order the book from Amazon by clicking on the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Perfect-Gift-Expectations-Little/dp/0764209175/ref=pd_sim_b_1