The Challenges and Joys of Parenthood....

Our friend Rosalie Ardarg started a conversation about parenthood the other day - one of her favorite conversations and one that she definitely makes a difference with.

She talked about the sacrifices parents make and how what initially looks unmanageable and just plain hard graft, ends up being a blessing in disguise.

Simply put - a parent's initial challenge, oftentimes turns into a joy!

When our son emerged from his mother, it was obvious that he had no muscle tone in his legs - the nurse who took him to the weighing machine said under her breath - "Frogs Legs" - it was the first sign that my son had Downes Syndrome.

Already on the roller coaster of the birthing process, I lurched into our little quiet room and listened numbly as the nurse told us he had Downes Syndrome - we were left there for a couple of minutes alone - it seemed like the end of the world for me - then suddenly the nurse burst back into the room with the results of his blood test and we were raced off to intensive care - I went from "poor me" to "Please God I'll do anything if you save our boy's life!!!"

He stayed in intensive care for 43 days. Mostly he was in a humidicrib as he was a week premature and pretty vulnerable....most of the time I spent with him living in hope, fear and desperation - it just became part of my life.

...and then suddenly, there we were, driving home with our new baby - just like nothing had happened, the only clue that something had was the daily traffic from specialist nurses and professionals visiting our home.

And in the process of this, in fact as soon as they walked in and told us our son's life was in danger, I fell deeply in love with my son.

I was bonded. My life had a new meaning.

My work was as an image and communication trainer. I helped people look good in the media, in job and television interviews, at parties and at social events. I helped people move forward in their careers, their businesses and their lives.

Suddenly, every time I was in public with my son, people stared. Suddenly when he behaved inappropriately, people stared and judged. I had to renounce dignity and looking good.....in the long run, this has been a great liberation for me!

I felt isolated and cut off from the world I knew. I had to get a job and I was scooped up for my training expertise, not my image and presentation skills. This influenced my career direction and I started to get serious about communication, goal setting and coaching.

And my son became my teacher. He taught me about acceptance, unconditional love and living in the moment.

I had much to learn and I have.

Now I know Rosalie and her husband Patrick and I see the work they are doing to help parents be great parents and how to help kids develop in a healthy environment of love and good values.

I've been lucky to have such a good teacher of a son....and such an amazing loving mother as my wife and a really knowledgeable and loving grandmother as my mother in law, and such a great grandmother as my mum and such a great aunty as my sister.

It really is a family affair.

These are some of the things I've learnt from my son......

Email Mike...

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