When our second child was born something happened. We don’t really know what but we were told he had a brain disorder, a one in a million chance. We didn’t know what we were facing. As the pregnancy was normal this was a big shock. We were told he had cerebral palsy and were not sure how to feel about it all. We were given this story to help us work it all out. It was a big help to us to read this and know what we were feeling was normal. I think its not only good for friends and families of disabled children to read but strangers to understand too.



Emily Perl Kingsley.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and

Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ..about Holland .

Posted by SpotstheCat, 29th September 2013

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  • My close friends have just been informed the baby they’re expecting (she’s due early December, their Christmas gift to each other) has Down Syndrome. They seem to be fine with the news, I suppose, but I have no idea what to say about it :/


  • what a lovely read, bless!


  • That’s a great way to describe ‘Holland’


  • That “Holland” is certainly a good description of the feelings of parents whose child has a disability. It can just as easily be applied to lots of things that change our life forever and rewrite what is “normal” for us in our new situation. Very true moral to the story.


  • That is such a lovely way to explain it. I wish you all the happiness with your child

    Thanks for sharing


  • Thank you for sharing. I have heard that ‘Holland’ story somewhere and think its a great why to explain it. My son was born with CCHD, and his just like his sisters just with a few extra quirks and appointments.


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