Martha Beck discusses how you can advocate for your child with Down syndrome.
After my son was born a lot of people told me that a significant portion of my life would be advocating for people with disabilities.
And I remember feeling like yeah, that’s what I should do, but something in the back of my mind also said, um, I could have had other plans for my life.
And what I found was that I wasn’t very effective at doing the things that like the other moms were doing.
I had fibromyalgia so when they would go and sit in a legislature meeting I didn’t have the physical capability to do that and I felt guilty for a while.
But then I realized what I do is I write. So I wrote a book about my son. That book ended up being seen as advocacy for Down syndrome.
I wrote it because it was in my heart to write it. So what I would say is if you have a family member or a loved one with a disability or if you have a disability, define advocacy very broadly and make sure that you follow your heart because you are not going to be an effective advocate for anything if you are unhappy.
So always follow your own North Star and it will give you the form of advocacy that is most powerful for you and most helpful for your loved one.
I just was able to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday at the 10th anniversary of the Oprah magazine’s founding.
And I spoke to 3,300 people on his birthday and he came out on stage with me and got to see how many people he has influenced.
All those people who have read my writing or are reading it because he changed my life and the love between him and those other people was so profoundly connecting and that’s what we want for all people of all colors, of all ability levels, we want that love to pervade our relationships and that comes from following your heart.
About Martha Beck:
Martha Beck, Ph.D., is a writer and life coach who specializes in helping people design satisfying and meaningful life experiences. She holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and master's and Ph.D. degrees in sociology, all from Harvard University. She has published academic books and articles on a variety of social science and business topics.
Her non-academic books include the New York Times bestsellers “Expecting Adam” and “Leaving the Saints,” as well as “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” and her newest book, “Steering by Starlight.” Dr. Beck has also been a contributing editor for many popular magazines, including Real Simple and Redbook, and is currently a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine.