I’ve known Amy Silverman for more than 15 years, from when I worked with the Phoenix New Times award-winning journalist’s husband Ray Stern at another (now defunct!) Arizona newspaper. I remember when their second daughter Sophie was born, and how they contended first with the denial, fear and ultimately acceptance and joy at learning their child has Down syndrome.
I am so thrilled to interview Amy on Like a Mother about her new book, My Heart Can’t Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome. This reported memoir is raw and honest, as Amy contends with her own adolescent notions about learning disabilities, including her casual use of the word ‘retarded,’ hilarious in its antics of raising a intellectually disabled tween obsessed with her own puberty, as well as tender moments of accepting and learning to love a child who is not like you, or what you thought your family would look like.
We talk about the cliquey world of Down syndrome support groups and Special Olympic politics, and the universal mom worries about what life is like for our children after we are gone, felt even more acutely when your child is not able to care for herself.
Also, have a listen to this excellent This American Life episode where Amy talks about a twisted connection between her earlier obsession with a retro sex-ed video coming full circle to be the saving grace in her motherhood challenges: