Lengel, Kerry “Author Q&A: Amy Silverman on raising daughter with Down syndrome” azcentral, April 22, 2016.
It was the curse that became, well, not a blessing, exactly. Something complicated — by turns joyous, terrifying, frustrating, humbling, enlightening.
You know, life.
Amy Silverman, a veteran journalist and currently managing editor of Phoenix New Times, gave birth to her second daughter by C-section in 2003. Moments after awaking in a haze of painkillers, she got the news. Sophie, named after the goddess of wisdom, had Down syndrome, the genetic disorder that causes mental disability along with the potential for a host of physical afflictions.
Silverman, Amy. “Measuring the baby’s ears” Motherwell, August 30, 2016.
“I’m not supposed to say anything,” she said as I yanked my black maternity T-shirt down and struggled like a turtle on its back to pull my body to an upright position on the exam table in the small, dim room, then stuck my feet back in my red Dansko clogs. “But I know why you’re here. And I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that your baby does not have Down syndrome.”
---. “Beyond the R-word” Medium, October 3, 2018.
This summer, I edited a language style guide for journalists who cover disability. It was one of the toughest assignments of my career.
I spent the summer with my nose in the dictionary — rifling through medical journals, Googling the history of words, jotting down notes.
And clapping my hand over my own mouth several times a day.
---. “The day my daughter told us her disability is love” Salon, February 11, 2018.
I’m pretty sure that if I gave her the chance, my 14-year-old daughter would make out with me. Tongue and all.
That’s how much Sophie loves me. Don’t get me wrong, she hates me too, sometimes, in that brutal way only a teenage girl can loathe the tragically uncool mom who makes all the rules and tries to sing along to Taylor Swift in the car.
---. “Amy Silverman: Sisters” KJZZ, May 18, 2018.
I took a deep breath. Annabelle is in 11th grade. She attends a prestigious performing arts school with a project-based academic curriculum. The third-quarter presentation is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, 15 soul-crunching minutes of public speaking and Socratic inquisition.
Families are invited to attend, but as you might imagine, distractions are not welcome. Which brings us to Annabelle’s little sister, Sophie.