A mother’s deeply moving account of raising a son with Down syndrome in a world crowded with contradictory attitudes toward disabilities
Rachel Adams’s life had always gone according to plan. She had an adoring husband, a beautiful two-year-old son, a sunny Manhattan apartment, and a position as a tenured professor at Columbia University. Everything changed with the birth of her second child, Henry. Just minutes after he was born, doctors told her that Henry had Down syndrome, and she knew that her life would never be the same. In this honest, self-critical, and surprisingly funny book, Adams chronicles the first three years of Henry’s life and her own transformative experience of unexpectedly becoming the mother of a disabled child. A highly personal story of one family’s encounter with disability, Raising Henry is also an insightful exploration of today’s knotty terrain of social prejudice, disability policy, genetics, prenatal testing, medical training, and inclusive education. Adams untangles the contradictions of living in a society that is more enlightened and supportive of people with disabilities than ever before, yet is racing to perfect prenatal tests to prevent children like Henry from being born. Her book is gripping, beautifully written, and nearly impossible to put down. Once read, her family’s story is impossible to forget.
Ann on Goodreads wrote:
Written with love, intelligence and humor. Not many children are lucky enough to be raised by two such loving, brilliant and determined parents. Ms Adams and her husband seem singularly well-equipped to fight the many obstacles that must be overcome to provide young Henry with a solid early foundation, which will help him grow into a healthy, happy and high-functioning individual. This book will provide the most positive encouragement for other parents who are raising a Down Syndrome child. But it will also be gratefully received by anyone who loves children. It's been a long time since I've said this about a book: I couldn't put it down!
For me, this was more of a memoir of how a privileged academic lives than how a parent deals with Down's syndrome. There was a fair amount of name dropping and having the nanny take the child to his therapists, and I didn't get a good sense of Henry himself. I am reading around for other Down's accounts now, and so far I enjoyed _Expecting Adam_ by Martha Beck much more