I come from a very close family, which has always been the most important thing to me. Starting my own family is something I’ve thought about and I’ve always loved the idea of having children. However, making all those sacrifices scares the wits out of me!
My husband Mark and I have talked about kids. I’d like to think I could nail it as a mum and I’m certain Mark would make a wonderful dad. We’d need to figure out what support is available to us as there’s such an incredible amount to learn about how to care for a baby.
The main thing for us are practicalities and planning. There would be such an incredible amount to think about and work out. For instance, I work in the day and he works in the evenings. We’d definitely need some additional support in the evenings.
I imagine having a baby is one of the best gifts in the world. I’m lucky enough to be an aunty to my brother’s two boys and girl. I absolutely love being Aunty Ciara! Being an aunty has helped give me an insight into what the world of parenting would be like. I love doing my babysitting duties with the kids – they’re my favourite little people and are so much fun.
One of my best friends, who also has a learning disability, has recently had a little girl and it was incredible to meet her, although I got a bit emotional! She said it’s really hard but incredibly rewarding. I’m so proud of her and she’s doing an amazing job.
It has made me realise just how hard it is to bring a new life into the world. My learning disability would be classed as being relatively mild, but I know that it would make that journey even tougher.
Another thing; I absolutely love my job at Mencap as a campaigner and I’m not sure I’m prepared to give that up. I’ve had to work really hard to get to this point in my life and so it’s incredibly important to me to help other people with a learning disability to have a better life and we’re doing some amazing things.
Despite what some people think, having a learning disability isn’t something that is passed on to your children. One of my colleagues, Ismail, also has a learning disability and has three children which just shows that with the right support, people with a learning disability can become excellent parents.
Most importantly, the thing I really want for all young kids like my nephews and niece is to never feel scared about mine or other people’s learning disability. Hopefully, when they’re older, the world will look different, more inclusive and any stigma around learning disabilities will have been taken away.
For now, we’ll think about what we’re going to do and look after Teddy, our hamster, who’s our baby!
About Ciara Lawrence
Ciara Lawrence is a well-known learning disability campaigner. She has written for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and The Independent.
Ciara works as a campaigns support officer for Mencap an led their drive to make OKCupid remove nan offensive question about people with low IQs. She gained national press coverage and the dating website eventually bowed to public pressure. In 2016 she won the CharityComms Inspiring Communicator Award for her campaigning work.