When Loving Your Child Is Not Enough

by Lisa McGarry

Rosa Monckton, successful businesswoman and confidante of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, explores the realities of families caring for disabled children in a frank and moving documentary.

With the backdrop of headline-grabbing tragic cases in which desperate mothers, such as Fiona Pilkington, killed themselves and their child because they could no longer face the daily reality of their lives, Rosa, who herself has a child with Down’s syndrome, admits that she, too, has felt a “crushing despair”.

Since the birth of her daughter, Domenica, Rosa has campaigned for the rights of disabled children and their families. After the recent shocking high-profile cases in which mothers have killed their disabled children, she tries to find out how easy it is for families to reach the edge of desperation. She also discovers how the maze of bureaucracy often prevents families getting the help they need.

She meets parents who are struggling to come to terms with their toddler’s disability; those who are striving to cope with everyday economic hardships, as well as caring for their child, and also the families of those who found they were unable to cope and, in the end, had to let go of children they dearly love.

For 39-year-old Asher Nardone, the difficulties of caring for her son, Callum, who has cerebral palsy, were intensified by the abuse she suffered from neighbours after she was re-housed by the council.

While visiting Asher and her two children, Rosa experiences this first hand. “The reality is that it’s commonplace for families with disabled children to become targets of abuse,” says Rosa.

At the other end of the spectrum, Rosa talks to Conservative leader David Cameron about his disabled son, Ivan, who died recently. David says: “The parents of disabled children are not angels. They don’t choose it. It’s what fate deals them. You learn all kinds of ways of loving someone who can’t tell you that they love you. The most profound thing is having had this most incredible person in your life.”

Tuesday 10 November
10.35-11.25pm BBC ONE