Counselling Services Provided
May offers a one-on-one support and counselling services to parents, family members and people with Down syndrome.
In her own words, her support services are described below:
“Your emotions are valid. Your painful emotions are very valid. Why then do we often ignore them or pretend they don’t exist? Possibly because we like to smile and pretend everything is going well. Painful emotions are sometimes not acknowledged because they may indicate we are different to others. Acknowledging painful emotions is healthy and looking for support to understand what we are experiencing will equip us to deal with life in a more healthy way.
It’s great when parents see the need to take care of their health. Counselling and Dramatherapy are available at The Down Syndrome Centre to enable parents to do this. To date almost thirty families have availed of the service in a very short time. The service is available one morning every second week.
Having a baby with Down syndrome changes the dynamic within the family. Parents worry about the effect of this condition on the baby, their relationship with a partner, with siblings and the extended family. Your baby is a little person who will grow and develop within the family. This has the greatest influence on the development of the baby.
Painful feelings are very normal at the beginning of this journey and at times of transition. Parents sometimes pretend these feelings are not there, they bottle them up and try to “just get on with it”. Tears can be misconstrued by family members as a rejection of the baby. In fact they are a very valid way of expressing sadness, disappointment, fear and anxiety about the condition of Down syndrome.
Not all family members understand this. So parents learn to hide these feelings. They paint on a smile while at the same time thinking the “what if” thoughts in their heads. “What if he/she can’t communicate?” “What if I get sick, who will care for him/her?”
Anxiety is then heightened as again the pretence that all is well continues. This cycle of pretending feeds anxiety and stress and may cause physical ailments such as headaches, pains in neck or joints or digestive issues.
Emotions are valid. Taking the time and space to express how you feel at the beginning of the journey of learning how to be a parent of a child who has Down syndrome will assist you to better understand the emotional journey you have embarked upon. This understanding will raise your awareness of your strengths and the information you receive may also relieve the fears you have about the future.
If you avail of this service you can be assured of a welcome from a person with warmth and understanding, a person who has taken a similar journey.”