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Day 15: Did You Know? Love and Marriage.

By Jess

People with Down Syndrome can have close friends, go on dates, fall in love and get married.

In all honesty, other than any health issues she may face, this was my only real worry. I worried that my unborn child might not marry or have relationships. I know this is rushing ahead before I even knew her, but it did pass my mind as a worry.

I think it probably arose from the fact that I have dealt with quite a few cases where someone’s capacity to marry has been called into question, so I see the sharp end of any disputes and the impact they have on the individuals at the centre of it all. However, neither sex or marriage are particularly complex decisions so most adults with learning disabilities do have capacity to marry (thankfully, because if someone doesn’t have capacity to marry or to have sex, they can do neither lawfully.) but it’s not a fun process to go through nonetheless.

But as soon as I started reading and learning about the lives of people who have Down Syndrome, I learnt of so many wonderful couples with Down Syndrome who have been married for years. I read about the episode in The A Word where Ralph and Katie get married (watched it this week, actually, and cried throughout at how beautiful it was and how proud Ralph was with himself that he’d done what he’d wanted to do) and watched as Heidi Crowter (an amazing young woman, activist and self advocate) married the love of her life in their live streamed ceremony just as lockdown lifted.

I stopped worrying.

I also realised that she might not want to get married. Not everyone wants to. Frida is Frida and she will, with the right support from her family and friends, have relationships and get married if that is what she wants. That equally applies to Ada - we will also support her to do what she wants. The support we give might be slightly different, but that is the same for any set of siblings because everyone is different. So, I got over my worry, and cracked on with enjoying the rest of my pregnancy and looking forward to meeting my gorgeous second daughter. Importantly, I stopped speeding ahead so far into the future before she had even arrived!