I'm fascinated by Sarah Palin. It's always good to see a woman being given the opportunity to reach a high level in politics, the workplace, anything. She's attractive, feisty, talks the talk...
Her beliefs are reactionary. She apparently doesn't believe in abortion, whatever the circumstances of conception, even rape. She thinks that teenagers should be taught abstinence as contraception. Now I am not for one minute suggesting that Sarah's 17 year old daughter Bristol should have had an abortion, she is above the age of consent and that choice is for her and her alone. I am not too sure that I would be happy about my 17 year old getting married, but again that is the young couple's personal choice. At least I hope it is. What worries me is that Sarah Palin's conservative policy views would not enable other teenagers to have choices in future, nor help educate them in safe sex. Even the experiences of her own family have not made her get real.
What concerns me even more is that Sarah is the mother of a five month old son with Down's Syndrome. Again I respect her decision to carry on with the pregnancy, if indeed she knew the diagnosis before birth. I do not in any way believe that all disabled babies should be aborted, to do so would devalue the life of my own son. After all, many disabilities cannot be detected in the womb or actually occur due to birth accidents. But I do defend the opportunity for parents to have information and choices where appropriate.
At five months old it is surely too early to establish what that child's prognosis is, beyond recognising or ruling out some perhaps medical issues such as the heart problems which are common with the syndrome. For every happy, smiley child with Down's, there is probably a much more severely learning disabled one. A dual diagnosis of Down's and autism is not uncommon, with all the behavioural problems that can bring. All children with the syndrome will require support throughout their lives.
I have personal experience of how much attention a child with special needs requires in the early years. The importance of early intervention. The number of therapy and assessment appointments which must be attended. The battles to get the right help, the right education (though I guess a Governor/possible Vice President might not have to fight the same battles?). It's hard enough to balance all that with one other child and a very part-time job. I can only assume that Sarah Palin does not intend to take on the role of main carer herself. But what about the emotional impact of just being his Mum?
I wish her luck with her family.
Three notable things:
1. The doctor's surgery had misbooked my appointment for next Thursday instead of today. I have had to rebook for Monday and will be rushing from one doctor for myself to another to discuss son 2's x-ray...
2. I have a written a little more of my assessment today but have found it hard to concentrate because of...
3. ....Caroline's Black Boxes Widget! If you are visiting my blog from the widget please do stop and say hello in the comments, so I can visit you too! ( PS who on earth would offer the choice of toothache or migraine?!)