by: Sian Davey , October 5, 2020
by: Sian Davey , October 5, 2020
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.
WHO SUPPORTS US
The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.
However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:
Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers
Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey