I mentioned a while ago i was starting an open university course studying writing fiction.
I did the first exam and after getting a low mark i asked to speak to the tutor who basically said she is a poet not a writer but marks to the exam standards.
when it came to my last exam i was ill so instead of the story i'd been planning to write i thought it easier to write about giving birth to Saul, (as the tutor knows no different anyway) and change a few details.
If you've read my part in the 'How you were told' forum your understand that the midwives were less than caring.
But when i got my results i'd been marked down because the tutor felt, the mother wouldn't except her child so easily, so i should have looked into her feelings more' and the midwives wouldn't have treated her that way so i should have done more research.
I didn't know weather to laugh or cry
Apparently i passed but i'll never do another writing course with them again. As Rob said to me it was supposed to be fiction i could have said elephants were pink how can she say what i write isn't true.
Well First off all "well done!!" you passed and thats what you wanted!! As for the women whos marked your papers what a STUPID STUPID WOMEN!!! why do people think that all parents are "HONEYS" you know what i mean that women form Eastenders!! I loved Aaliyah from the minute i saw her and being told she had Downs didnt change a blinkin thing in fact it made me want to protect her more!! These people obviously has never met any children like our adorable bunch!! So Dont feel down about it you know that your reaction was a real one not made up,so keep your chin up Hun!! As for midwives dont even get me started on them!! Heather.x
God how annoying, she must have gone to the same college of 'tact and understanding' as the midwives you had! How can she say how a mother would feel in that situation if she's never been in that situation herself - there's not really a right or wrong way though as we're all different and deal with things in our own way. At least you passed though, which is what matters, well done xx
I did a creative writing course at uni and wrote about my Mum being ill (she had MS since before I was born) and I was told that it was unrealistic whereas it was totally true. I went to visit the tutor and told her it was actually true and she was so embarrassed ..... then told me off for writing something true when it was supposed to be fiction! I just made a snorting noise and raised 1 eye brow and never spoke to her again!
He smiled and clapped his tiny hands. It was his first birthday and he lay amongst a sea of bright paper that crinkled and made his little cheeks wobble with laughter. Although he was no closer to standing than his cousin half his age, the whole family were impressed with his abilities. A pair of beaming brown eyes and thin mop of dark hair showed off the hand me down genes of our families. But amongst those features were the typically flatter nose and slanted eyes, the single crease across his palm and the wider spacing between his tiny toes, characteristics of his disability. Flat to the ground and arm’s working, like a soldier at war, he dragged his body from gift to gift. Like all children his age the paper and towers of boxes were his greatest pleasure. I smiled down upon him from my position behind the lens of the camera, and a passing memory of this date the year before lodged firmly in my mind.
I could feel his delicate skin, pink and warm but covered in blood, his rapid heart beating against my chest, as I glanced down upon him. Wrapped in a thick towel he looked so lost but so at home all at once. The midwife took him from me and began the after birth checks, he was a good weight at 6lb 3oz. I felt my eyes becoming heavy and within moments had slipped into a deep slumber. On arousal I noticed my once tiny bump was now flattened and remembered the tiny boy that had grown within. I sat up and watched him sleeping; he lay in a tiny cradle, a small blue elephant card dangled from the side with his details upon. He began to stir, his fingers folding to form tiny fists that rubbed at his face as his head rolled from side to side. I placed my hands around his sides and raised him up, he was light but felt solid. This person had grown from something microscopic, next to which his tiny body would look gigantic. He wasn’t interested in feeding, but I held him close, stroking his hair, the couple of tiny tufts velvet like against my skin.
The door opened and the midwife entered, ushering me off for a bath and taking my boy to the nursery. I slipped into the warm water and revelled in the amazement that was my first-born child. I couldn’t stop thinking back to how hours earlier I had just been me, a young girl, working hard. The tiny bump barely that of a 6-month pregnancy easily disguised under my uniform. But from 7am this morning I was no longer just myself I was someone’s mum. I did feel like a part of me was becoming lost, like an identity I had used for many years was now being replaced with a motherly figure. I imagined someone like my own mother, working hard but always wanting to go out for the day or on holiday, doing fun things. And my Nan who cared for my two brothers and I when we were young, she would take us to the beach and we’d have competitions building sandcastles. She looked after us most days while mother worked, especially in those long school holidays. But that was a long way off for me; my son was barely a few hours old. I had, I think like any expectant parent, dreamed of what my child might look like, what they might enjoy doing, what sports they would be good at. When I knew it was a boy I imagined him chasing after his uncles, play fighting and kicking a football around my mum’s garden, ‘watch the flowers’ she’d cry just like she’d done when we were kids.
“I have a single room free, when you’re ready” the midwife called around the door. Dressing in the most unflattering nightgown, I staggered towards the room, where the midwife stood holding the door ajar. There was just a single bed, its sheets pristine white and folded to perfection, I imagined old war films of hospitals or even 5* hotels. I had my own sink and mirror, and a tiny cupboard with a jug of water and a single plastic glass. I sat my self down and felt the tenderness between my legs, as the midwife wheeled in my son, fast asleep again. “We’re getting a Paediatrician to see you, but they’re busy else where so may take some time. I’ll just get your things” If I had been glancing in the mirror then I am sure I would have seen a puzzled expression creep across my dreary face, but instead I was glancing at my son. A terrible feeling filled my heart, one of fear and dread. I hadn’t read anything in the pregnancy books about a Paediatrician being called to see you after birth. My mind blanked, and the word Paediatrician floated in ambiguity, I knew the word I was sure I did, but for those moments I just couldn’t recall what their job was. “Why” I asked, “Why are you getting a Paediatrician to see us?” as the midwife stumbled in with my laden bags. I saw her take a breath, she was young too, possible late 20’s and I knew from her eyes the words that were about the tumble out of her mouth would be ones of remorse. “I’m sorry, I think your son has Downs Syndrome.” I barely heard the door click shut, and my eyes never left his face. He was a baby, a perfect baby. I admit I hadn’t seen many babies, and I’d only seen a handful of people with Downs Syndrome but surely I would be able to tell if there was something wrong with him. Those future hopes and dreams I had held for him tumbled, everything I’d considered for the past 9 months was gone. Grief poured out of me, I had to grieve for those dreams that were now so broken. A thought as fleeting though it was and instantly regrettable swept across my chaotic mind. Adoption. I knew nothing of this condition and certainly not how to care for him, I suppose it was naivety that the knowledge of caring for disability would come with age, which right now was certainly not on my side. But thankfully it passed with out a second trial and determined as I was I would be taking my son home with me.
But a great fear resided in me; the Midwives were offering no information, so for severally hours I sat alone dreading to touch his once comforting skin in case it hurt him. By the time my watch had reached 12pm the door opened and in stepped 3 doctors. Each clutching a clipboard, and with momentary acknowledgement set to work treating my son like a tug toy. Moving his small arms and legs back and forth and around in circles, feeling him all over. Checking for all the ‘signs’ of downs, and muttering between them while writing notes. They turned to me and in a jumble of accent and medical terms I was able to make out, heart conditions needing ECG, low muscle tone and blood tests. Then as fast as the bird in a cuckoo clock they popped straight back out.
But from that day I watched my boy grow big and strong. He was slower at his milestones than the other children his age, until his cousin came along 6 months later there was no one to compare him to. He was going to do everything everyone else could, I was sure of it. It was great to watch him getting around, pulling his body across the carpet and he could get up some speed, beating you to the stairs before you could close the gate. He loves to build towers off blocks, and try to feed himself dinner, now that is a mess. I can’t wait to see the amount of wet wipes we’ll be needing when his finished his slice of chocolate birthday cake, and I’m quite sure my pale carpet will need a shampoo to.
I’ve learnt so much from this past year. I can liken it to going back to school. Having to sit down and relearn, but I see myself in a different class to all the other mum’s, one I had barely noticed was there before. People often comment that it must be hard to look after a child with disabilities, but it isn’t. It is just my life, my everyday life; from the moment I was told the news. It was the first experience of bringing up a child I was given, and I don’t regret a second of it. I know I can cope with it, and do the best for my son, so as I watch his birthday pass I look forward to everything I’ll see him learn this next year and feel privileged to be his mum.
Hi mash,just wanted to say ive read your story and i wanted to say it was fastastic,you know what you've written is from the heart and not just someone who hasnt known the facts,so stuff the examiner...what do they know anyway!!(lol) Heather.x
Hi Mash, thats fantastic, totally gripping from start to finish. Don;t give up on your writing, I'm sure you will be successful with it. Take no notice of that tutor, whereas you were speaking from the heart she was speaking from her arse... lol, am I aloud to put that on here? xx
What a lovely piece of writing. I could hardly see through the tears! You must keep up with your writing. I'm sure if you wrote a book it would be a bestseller. I'm sure everyone on here can relate to the story, the tutor doesn't know the first thing about it. xx
get your tutor to come and visit this site it would soon change her opinions.. well done on a fab piece of work and as lesley says you should think about writing a book youd get loads of input from us ...