by: , October 5, 2020

© Getting Ready (2020) by Sian Davey

The process of creating this series of photographs has helped me shine a light on why I have struggled to love Alice.

I was deeply shocked when Alice was born. After examining her, the paediatrician announced that we should ‘take her home and treat her like any other baby’. But she didn’t seem like my other babies. I was fraught with anxiety that rippled through every aspect of my relationship with her and even penetrated my dreams. I dreamt that Alice was covered in a white fluid–a fluid of neglect–and that I was unable to feed her or respond to her basic needs.

Alice entered a world where routine screenings at twelve weeks’ gestation are entirely weighted towards birth prevention, rather than birth preparation.  While we make our selection and decisions in private, the effect on society is that in the UK, the latest figures (in 2015) tell us that ninety-two per cent of Down’s Syndrome babies are terminated at the pre-natal screening stage.

My daughter Alice is no different from any other little girl or indeed human being; she feels what we all feel and needs what you and I need. And my family is a microcosm for the dynamics occurring in many other families–all the joys, tensions, ups and downs that go with the territory of being in a family.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I became aware of how alike we all are. The stories vary, but we are all vulnerable to the same feelings of shame, anger, grief and fear.

This story concerns every one of us.  My daughter’s diagnosis is only one aspect of it. The rest is about yours and mine, and indeed society’s relationship to ‘difference’. This is what these photos of Alice are inviting us to reflect on. Ultimately, this is a story about love and how fear and uncertainty get in the way.

My hope is that she is valued wherever she goes in life. Without distinction, without exception, without a second glance.


Home (2020) by Sian Davey


Nearly to Bed (2020) by Sian Davey


Getting Ready (2020) by Sian Davey
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