Parents receiving a diagnosis are very often given a copy of Emily Perl Kingsley’s essay, “Welcome to Holland.” Likely you will receive this essay one day (actually you will probably receive at least 20 copies). Ms. Kingsley wrote this essay to reflect on life as the mother of a child with Down syndrome, living a life different than the one she expected, but full of its own beauty. To many, it is an essay of comfort, reassuring parents that this unexpected detour has attractions and beauty you will come to appreciate.
Writers with children with special needs have created so many spin-offs to “Welcome to Holland.” Jen Graf Groneberg’s book Roadmap to Holland is a Down syndrome community favorite, but there are many essays, each providing a twist on the adjustment a parent makes in learning of a diagnosis. Blogger Dana Nieder sent us a link to “Amsterdam International.” We think it’s insightful, and especially relevant to those fresh to a diagnosis. For our moms in post-diagnosis pregnancy, they can be stuck at Amsterdam International for 4 to 6 months. They can look out the window, catching a glimpse of one of those beautiful windmills everyone is talking about. But mostly they are just sitting, waiting, worried, reading tourist brochures and trying to figure out how to master Dutch before they get released into Holland.
Tell us what you think about these essays, and give us your favorite Holland spin-offs.
(Original Post Oct. 9, 2010)