A woman said she dedicated more than four decades of her life to looking after her son, who needed constant care. While she confessed she loved him immensely, what she admitted next was shocking and brought her to the centre of a media storm.
A parent’s love for their children is pure, selfless, and never-ending. A child understands that no matter what happens in their lives, they can always return to their parents and find safety in their loving and comforting presence.
However, parents are sometimes unable to express the emotional stages they go through when taking on parental responsibility for their children. The story we’re sharing today sheds light on a parent’s quandary and their decision to be vocal about the numerous challenges they faced along the way.
Gillian and Roy Relf, both from Kent, England, met when they were young and fell in love at first sight. Finally, Gillian and Roy made the decision to spend the rest of their lives together and were married at the ages of 19 and 20, respectively. Andrew, a newborn boy, was born almost exactly one year after they were married.
A second child was a long-awaited addition for the Relfs, who had just experienced parenting for the first time. Their dreams came true when Gillian found out she was expecting her second child.
While Gillian was happy about her pregnancy, there was one thing she was concerned about. But something about her instincts as a mother and as a mother-to-be told her something wasn’t right with her kid.
WELCOMING HER INTO THE WORLD SON
In Gillian’s opinion, no prenatal scans or blood testing at the time may indicate problems. Her physicians and midwives, she claims, said she was emotional and refused to do an amniocentesis on her as a consequence.
Over the years, she claimed she had great times with her son, but she also feared for his future and how he would handle life without her and her husband.
There were limited chances of having a kid with Down syndrome in Gillian’s case since she was a healthy and young woman, she added. Gillian and Relf had their second child, a boy called Stephen, on a Sunday in 1967 at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
A SHOCKING DISCOVERY
Three days later, Gillian recalled looking at her baby boy in his cot; he had small, almond-shaped eyes, a flat nose, and one crease on the palm of his hands. She gasped and told her mother what she had noticed — Stephen had Down syndrome.
But her mother told her she was sure he didn’t. Per Gillian, everyone, including the doctors and health visitors, didn’t mention anything to her for nearly seven months, and she kept convincing herself that everything was okay.
When Stephen fell ill that summer and Gillian took him to the hospital, she overheard a paediatrician refer to him as “Down’s syndrome baby.” She said she knew she had been right all along, and at that moment, her world turned upside down.
It’s the other way around.
Despite her best efforts, Gillian could not answer any of the numerous questions racing through her thoughts. On that day in Kent, her life was irrevocably changed, and although she realized that people wanted her to accept the circumstance, there was a part of her that didn’t. She stated:
Although I adore and protect my kid, I believe that our lives would have been much better if he hadn’t been born.” Abortion would have been better for me. “I pray for it every day.”
The mother-of-two further claimed that had Stephen not been born, she would have gone on to have another kid and enjoyed a regular family life where her elder son would have the comfort, but not the burden, of a brother once she and her husband were no longer around.
STRUGGLES OF A MOM’S LIFE
Gillian claimed in a 2014 “Loose Women” interview that caring for Stephen, who had difficulty speaking and functioning in the contemporary world, had caused her and her family a great deal of worry and anguish. She continued, saying:
“My kid is mute. He is confined to communicating only via the use of sign language. His words are lost on everyone. The arrival of our Downs kid has profoundly altered our family’s life. As a result, “We’ve missed out on a number of events, including family gatherings.”
It was hard for Gillian to see her friends’ children grow up while her own kid was still a newborn. As far as she knew, Stephen was only five years old when he was unable to walk or speak.
It was a daily battle for the heartbroken mother to understand what was wrong with her kid when he went unwell, and no one else seemed to get it. Gillian stated she had a nervous breakdown and was also taken to a hospital.
Even though Gillian suffered from her own mental baggage and guilt, she was aware that Stephen had been given a long-term stay in a Kent hospital near where he was being treated. The mother said she was happy that her kid would be cared for, despite her own mental health issues.
A COMMENT IN RESPONSE TO CRITICISM
Because she had received so much criticism and retaliation throughout her life, the mother understood why her words wounded others. She did say, though, that she wants to express her frustrations with being a mom. She went on to say the following:
In order to judge us, I’d like to challenge each of them to spend a day in the shoes of other moms who are dealing with a child who is needy, difficult, and never-ending to grow up.
Gillian revealed that she and Roy experienced depression as a result of their relationship’s difficulties. A time when her son was released from the hospital, and she couldn’t stop crying, was brought back to her mind by her. He was later found to have hemolytic anemia, which is a condition that runs in his family.
FEAR AND CONCERNS OF A MOTHER
The physicians advised the Relfs that unless they had their son’s spleen removed, he would not live. Gillian says Stephen was in Great Ormond Street Hospital for five weeks to recuperate. For the next 18 months, he lived at home with his family as a full-time resident after turning the age of 11.
Gillian said she seldom left home because she was so preoccupied with caring for her younger kid. While attending high school, he resided in five local government residences and spent weekends with his parents.
Gillian’s kid resided in Kent-protected housing with two other ladies who also have Down syndrome as of 2014. She claimed she loved spending time with her kid, but she was concerned about his well-being because she and her husband died before he could do so.
SHARING HER RAW FEELINGS
The fact that Gillian said she was concerned about Stephen’s safety was also revealed. As she recounted an episode in which her son’s caretaker physically abused him, she and Roy sought to shift him to a new facility.
Gillian and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2014, and Gillian said:
If I could go back to the past, I would instantly abort my son, whom I’ve loved, nursed, and protected for over 50 years.” Since Roy is 70 and I’m 69, we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary next month.”
Gillian revealed to the “Loose Women” panel her reasons for considering abortion. She replied:
“I stated I would have had an abortion because I didn’t want another kid to have to go through what Steven had to go through,” she said.
Do you have an opinion on the tale of this mother? Do you agree with what she has to say? Consider the following scenario: You are in her shoes. Don’t forget to tell your relatives and friends about this article.