‘In every life there is a defining moment; Caoimhe’s diagnosis was mine . . .’
‘Caoimhe today is as beautiful, as unblemished, as she was at the hour of her birth, before she was stamped and branded. She is bigger than any label. When I look at her I am as in love with her as always... there are times when I see her and I still catch my breath; the feeling is so intense it is painful. That pain, I know now, belongs to love, to grief, to loss, to the disappointment of mortality, and it will never go away. But I don’t want it to. Sadness is not the worst thing I can feel.’
When journalist Kathy Evans wrote what was to become an award-winning series of articles about the birth of her third child, Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva), she was inundated with responses - not just from other parents of disabled children but also from parents-to-be, relatives, teachers, doctors and many others who urged her to keep writing because they wanted to know more. The result is a beautiful and intensely moving account of life with Caoimhe that goes beyond memoir to explore wider concerns of prejudice and the ethics of the cutting-edge science of genetics.
Kathy and her partner had spent months agonising over whether to have a third child, then, at thirty-five, Kathy decided it would be now or never. When Caoimhe was born there was nothing to suggest anything was wrong. The following day a midwife baldly told Kathy her baby had Down syndrome. Tuesday’s Child tells of Kathy's journey through shock, anger and grief to, ultimately, a kind of acceptance. From the bombshell of diagnosis - the defining moment that was to reshape her life - she charts her initial obsession with 'Why?', the impact on the family, the often hurtful, ignorant responses of strangers (and friends), and, most importantly of all, the battle to reclaim Caoimhe as an individual, not just a 'Downs child'. As Kathy wrote in her original article: ‘I don’t know where she fits in society, but a family is a world in microcosm. And I do know that right here, right now, she fits perfectly within my arms.’
A compelling mix of heartfelt personal story and insightful journalism, Tuesday’s Child highlights society's attitudes to difference and the ongoing ethical debate about genetics, as well as examining the minefield that is prenatal testing.