When mums Eloise Templar and Kassie Carlyle talk about their beautiful young children, their faces fill with joy and love.
However, in a way, the mums say they feel they have to justify the existence of their children because of a single reason.
Both Ellianna, Eloise’s daughter, and Carlson, Kassie’s son, were born with Down’s Syndrome.
Even these days, the Bristol mums think there is a stigma attached to the condition.
Ms Templar said she found out Ellie had Down’s Syndrome when she was born, adding she was distraught and devastated at first.
“I thought my world had ended,” she continued. “I was completely unaware of what it would mean.
“I was upset, angry and devastated – I didn’t know what the future would hold for us.”
(Image: James Beck/Freelance)
The mum-of-four said she looked online for information and couldn’t find any positive information, so she turned to Instagram to find other families.
It was through social media she realised children who have Down’s Syndrome are no different.
“Instagram really helped me – no one tells you the positive things about it,” the 34-year-old added. “I didn’t know anything about Down’s Syndrome so it was very hard.
“But once I reached out online I realised there was so much hope and positivity, that it wasn’t going to be a life of misery. “
Ms Templar said Ellie was born with three holes in her heart but two of them healed by themselves, while the third one isn’t causing her problems and surgery isn’t necessary.
The only difference is that Ellie can’t talk and uses Makaton to communicate, she added.
“My experience has been extremely positive – Ellie has shown me life in a different way,” Ms Templar continued. “You live life in the moment more and celebrate every single achievement.
“Ellie is like any other three-year-old. She is very sociable and likes swimming.
“She is very sassy and knows what she wants.
“Ellie was the magic my life needed.
“I would not change Ellie for the world, but I would change the world for her.
“We want to celebrate our children and show the world that differences should be embraced and not feared.
“If I give any advice is to see past any diagnosis and see the individual.”
Mum Kassie Carlyle said some of the things that are said about children who have Down’s Syndrome made her feel her child was not as worthy as other kids.
The 41-year-old said said there was a stigma around the condition and that she was very worried about how society may treat her child when Carlson was born, adding she was concerned about not knowing how to protect him.
(Image: James Beck/Freelance)
“You feel like you have to justify your child,” Ms Carlyle added.
Ms Carlyle struggled to get pregnant with her third child and, when finally managing to do so, her pregnancy wasn’t an easy one, ending up in hospital several times.
The mum said Carlson, aged two, was also diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome at birth.
For her, the diagnosis came as a total shock, adding at the time it felt “like it was the worst thing that has ever happened”, but finding people like Ms Templar really helped her and made her realise that wasn’t the case.
She said that Carlson was a healthy child and was walking by 14 months despite what doctors had predicted.
“He is amazing,” the mum-of-five said. “He has got so much energy – he is perfect and I would not change him.
“His siblings adore him and wouldn’t change a thing about him either, he is simply the best brother they could have. They see no difference at all.
“His step sisters also champion him.”
The mothers are organising an event on March 21 to mark World Down Syndrome.
They are raising funds for it through GoFundMe, with any money raised above the cost going to Wouldn’t Change a Thing Charity and Down Syndrome Association.