Nature vs Nurture - is it luck?
Ariel’s World is the journey of a girl who just happens to have Down syndrome & where her namesake scented products raise money for Down Syndrome charities
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Nature vs Nurture – is it luck?

Estimated reading time 4.2  mins including watching a short video

Ariel is doing really well and meeting most milestones in the range of a typical child. I often get congratulated and praised for my parenting but a while ago someone said to me that Ariels development was a matter of luck. Now, I would like to think it was more to do with my parenting as I have put a lot of thought and work into it, but of course sometimes I wonder if my choices are the right ones and am I doing the best I can blah blah blah

Nature versus nurture” is a psychology term related to whether heredity or the environment most impacts human psychological development (behavior, habits, intelligence, personality, sexuality, aggressive tendencies, and so on).

Nature is that which is inherited / genetic.

Nurture which refers to all environmental influences after conception, i.e. experience.

So we know the nature of Ariel is that she has Down Syndrome. She has mental and physical disabilities. Her development will be delayed and her IQ low.

I am going to great lengths to nurture Ariel. I have a carefully planned out diet and have continued to breastfeed. I started early intervention straight away and have an Occupational Therapist come to our house once per fortnight. I work at nights so that I can spend the time with her during the day and we can form a good bond. I have read books on Down Syndrome and joined Facebook groups to talk and learn from other great mums who have walked this path before. We go to Mothers group every Friday and we go to the pool once a week. I read to Ariel and play with her every day. We also go for a walk in the pram at least once per day, sometimes twice. I massage her and try and teach her as much as I can through song and baby sign. I love my role as her mother and I am doing as much as I can to ensure she has the proper care. It has been proven with the right education and proper care that quality of life can be improved drastically. I hear people say that I should just treat her like a normal person but to be honest I don’t really think such a broad statement can sum up what is required to bring up someone with a disability. I have a “normal’ baby with Down Syndrome and I need to treat her accordingly. A certain type of nurturing suited to her will be required.

But the flip side of the coin is environmental influences after conception. I was so healthy during my pregnancy. I ate extremely healthy and did not drink alcohol at all. I went for walks and rested when needed. Down Syndrome is not caused by any environmental factors, it is genetic. That is our luck and having Ariel has definitely been good luck for us!

Here is a link to a video of Ariel starting to crawl at 11 months. She has been up on all fours rocking for months. Her legs were spreading like froggy legs so I got tennis wrist sweat bands and Joe sewed them together. We placed them around her thighs to strengthen up her hips. That was a week ago.

  • Meredith
    Posted at 22:36h, 16 January Reply

    Raylene, if more Mothers with ‘normal’ children nurtured their children like you nurture Ariel, there would be a lot more happy people, and I guarantee a lot less angry young adults in this world. Babies thrive with this beautiful parenting. You are amazing, and what you are doing with Ariel, all children should have.

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 22:47h, 16 January Reply

      Thank you Meredith that means a lot coming from such a beautiful and much loved mummy like yourself! xoxo

  • Adam
    Posted at 07:27h, 17 January Reply

    Raylene, I watch your gorgeous Ariel grow through your posts and comments and in turn watch you both grow.

    There is more and more evidence coming out that shows us how we nurture our children has more impact than anything else in their lives. How we parent boys stereotypically and how we parent girls are different because of learned gender stereotypes – we can carry that into our parenting, we can choose not to.

    I see a family who celebrate life and all the ups and downs that come with that Glorious gift together.

    You are an inspiration to any parent, stay awesome and keep sharing the magic of Ariel’s world 🙂

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 07:45h, 17 January Reply

      Hi Adam. Thank you for reading my posts and thank you for your kind words. I too believe that how we nurture has an impact. I feel the combination of what we are doing will help Ariel and most importantly they way we celebrate life will help us all. Thanks again I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

  • Fran
    Posted at 23:29h, 18 January Reply

    Raylene, what a beautiful story you are sharing. Nurture is everything and it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. Look forward to reading more! X

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 00:03h, 19 January Reply

      Thank you so much. I agree Nurture is key 🙂 Thanks for reading x

  • Naomi
    Posted at 06:08h, 19 January Reply

    Hi Raylene,
    I have a son now that’s 21.. He is completely blind from birth.. No explanation why.. Just happened.. It’s been a hard road but just keep doing what you are doing.. You are doing it right!! Found out Rod was blind at 3 months of age his eyes looked normal, been going to Homai school for the blind in Manurewa for 18 years.. He’s just left and now we have put him into a day programme which he starts on Thursday, he’s very excited. He does have development delay lucky no other problems, but everyone that meets him loves him! He loves music, plays the drums, and talks ALOT!
    As a parent you will know what’s best for Ariel, so keep doing what you are doing.. You are doing a great job and she is beautiful! x

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 08:23h, 19 January Reply

      Hi Naomi thank you so much for your words of encouragement and for sharing your story. Hearing from people like you who can understand where I am is very comforting. You are very strong and inspiring. R xx

  • Elle
    Posted at 09:11h, 20 January Reply

    Love the latest blog .. Love to all how Ariel is so determined to crawl … She is soo cute admire you being a Mumis tough job at times .. The rewards are so worth it and your blog is a good read and very informative ..take care and Love to all

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 22:24h, 20 January Reply

      Thank you so much Elle I really appreciate your kind words! Love to you xx

  • bel @ Mums Take Five
    Posted at 10:56h, 24 February Reply

    I love seeing you guys pop up in my feeds around the place. You certainly are doing a fabulous job at nurturing. i look at my own kids and they have all been nutured pretty much the same but they are all so different in nature. Shes gorgeous and how cute is that vid. love these moments .. so close so close!
    Thank you for sharing and contributing to The Sunday Brunch Magazine, lovely to see you. Eliza & Bel x

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 00:08h, 25 February Reply

      Thank you Eliza and Bell! Looking forward to reading the latest issue of Sunday Brunch magazine today. xx

  • bel @ Mums Take Five
    Posted at 10:59h, 24 February Reply

    Your site is not allowing us to post your article into our flipboard magazine. This might be a personal preference if so thats ok we loved having you link with us and sharing. Just letting you know incase you were unaware and hoping to be in the magazine 🙂
    Thanks Raylene & Ariel 🙂

    Bel & Eliza x

    • Raylene Barton
      Posted at 00:07h, 25 February Reply

      Hi Bel and Eliza! Thank you I am getting that fixed today. I definitely want to be in the mag!! Thanks so much 🙂

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