Caterina Scorsone speaks about Down Syndrome and why it is all about difference, and not disability.
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What sets Motherly apart from other straightforward interview podcasts is that it follows a unique episode structure. Additionally, our host faithfully relies on instinct and intuition to invite guests to share their humanity, and in so doing, teach us something valuable. And we're incredibly proud to announce that our hard work has been recognized with a Webby for Podcasts, Diversity + Inclusion, People's Voice!
In this episode from Season 1 of The Motherly Podcast, host and co-founder of Motherly, Liz Tenety, interviews actress Caterina Scorsone, best known for her role as the passionate and rebellious Dr. Amelia Shepherd on the iconic series, Grey's Anatomy. Beyond her life on set, however, Caterina is also the mother to two girls, 6-year-old Eliza and 2-year-old Paloma. Paloma was born with Trisomy 21, also known as Down Syndrome—a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and developmental delays. And since Paloma's birth in 2016, Caterina has become a prominent voice on social media for raising awareness about the condition. In 2018, Caterina made multiple headlines for her Instagram post during Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and in 2020 she won the prestigious Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award that recognizes those who have championed people who are differently-abled, including people with Down Syndrome.
In this episode, Liz and Caterina talk about how the unexpected diagnosis completely transformed not only Caterina's identity, but her whole concept of motherhood, while awakening her to the perspective on normative values and biases she held even for her oldest child.
After she processed the news of Paloma's condition, Caterina began to see her daughter it in terms of the differences she possesses, rather than the disabilities, and that those differences are as perfectly, beautifully diverse as each one of us is. She explains, "I think when it comes to our differences, we talk a lot about ethnicity and skin color and gender and sexual orientation. We don't talk a lot about our cognitive differences...I see that [Paloma] has a difference. She does things differently, and it's just as perfect for her. Her chromosomes are unfolding exactly as they were supposed to, just as mine are." This compelling and special narrative holds your attention throughout, then continues to resonate and challenge you to change how you think about your own perceptions and presuppositions in life and parenting.
Liz's ability to actively listen and ask the right questions to draw out parts of Caterina's unique story in a thoughtful coherent narrative holds your attention throughout the enlightening interview and leaves you wanting to know more about Down Syndrome. Throughout this episode, Caterina's candor and humanity shines through—she is articulate, authentic, brilliant and passionate about her message. From moments like the profundity of being "chosen" for this experience, to what it means to learn to love the essence of a person, Liz and Caterina's candid and intimate conversation invites us to reconsider our own notions of differences in general, and Down Syndrome in particular. Having learned something new about recognizing differences, this episode stays with you long after the it's over as we see how differences open up our world in ways that we could not have imagined.
When it's done right, editing is invisible to the audience. This hour-long interview is reduced to 33 minutes of flawless, uninterrupted conversation. Without gaps or awkward moments, just pure heart and connectedness, Liz and Caterina bring us into the studio with them, where they create an organic experience defined by an ease of exchange and flow of narrative that helps us think about why it truly is all about difference and not disability. In only nine short months, this episode has amassed a following that far exceeds the resources employed in its making, having been downloaded 49,121 times (with 15% repeat listens).
Our podcast guests are redefining motherhood, courageously sharing their diverse experiences and using their equally diverse voices to uplift and inspire. The Motherly Podcast is produced by moms and for moms, offering support and representation for the collective challenges of motherhood and parenthood, helping women and mothers to feel understood and seen.
Through the powerful lens of motherhood, our content generates mom-to-mom sharing and valuable conversation, unlike any other brand. To date, The Motherly Podcast itself has garnered 959,303 downloads. In addition to reaching this many listeners, from our other media, Motherly also has garnered:
- 11M+ monthly pageviews
- 31M+ monthly video views across Facebook (+YoY and MoM) and O+O
- 3K+ Likes, shares, comments per average Motherly Facebook post
- +20% MoM social engagement, per post
- enjoys 3X the video engagement of pregnancy and parenting competitors
and is #1 in weekly Instagram follower growth in the parenting category.
Being more than the sum of its parts, the elements of this episode's storytelling and production, as well as the intangibles that provoke the listener's response, blend together seamlessly to elevate the theme—it's all about difference, and not disability—and provide for a uniquely positive and memorable experience.