Back when I was pregnant with Moxie but without any moxie of my own, I was slip-slithery-sliding all over the place in treacly grounds of depression. I was struggling for a type of..what is the word?… Relief. That's it. Relief. I was so consumed with worry about who Moxie would be, about her future. Grappling each and every one of my rather massive stereotypes and let's be honest here, prejudices against Down syndrome.
Down syndrome, after all, was the one and only disability I had always been terrified of. Prayed I'd never have a connection with.
Nothing helped me. Not the stories about the "good nature" and "sweetness" of people with Ds. Not the "inspirational" stories that left me feeling completely bummed out that it seemed the only thing I could look forward to was Moxie being a bagger at Safeway. Or a stocker at Starbucks. Great, thanks. Not to sneer at any work – all work has meaning and value – but is this something I'd dream of for my child? No.
I'd cry daily. Lock myself in my office at work because I knew I couldn't be trusted to stay dry-eyed if someone spoke to me of my growing pregnant belly. And come on, who cries when people ask you how you are while pregnant? "You look great, Meriah" "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"
Finally – finally! – I came upon Conny Wenk. She who should be bottled and passed out like a magical elixir to parents like myself. Because she was magic. Her images gave me comfort, vision. Through the power of her lens, she gifted me with a new image of Down syndrome, one of beauty.
Through her work, for the first time in the whole journey of finding my moxie, I found relief.
It was her photo series of Laura Bruckmann that did it:
Thank you, Conny.
Seeing a girl that looks like my daughter doing something so lovely. Expressive. Captivating. Entrancing. Means the world to me.
I guess this is what inspiration is all about.
Showing me that our kids can be whomever they want to be. They can be powerful They can be grace. They can be movement and yes, they can be beautiful.
Conny has a 2013 Calendar out, chock-full of her magic. She's going to give you a copy in honor of this month being Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Conny will be shipping this you from Germany, so this giveaway is open to the world.
– Leave a comment on this blog: What do you love?
(winner decided by random.org)
I'm trying to keep this simple, so no extra entries for anything (too hard to count it all and rafflecopter is always breaking down). It would be pretty awesome if you "like" her page on facebook, show her some love.
Giveaway ends: 10/22; winner will be announced via email (so you have to include a way to reach you!) on 10/23, unless I give birth, in which case the winner will be announced as soon as possible.
Note: All photos on this post are the images and property of Conny Wenk – also check out her site, The Girl with The Freckles, also a book.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.