Oxford mother Julia Hollander has written a moving book about her family's experience following the birth of their disabled daughter.

When The Bough Breaks: A Mother's Story, reveals how the Hollanders struggled to cope following the birth of Imogen, now five years old.

There were complications when Imogen was born in June 2002 and she suffered brain damage, which left her severely disabled.

Imogen now lives with her foster carer, Tania, under special guardianship laws but Ms Hollander, her husband Jay and their two other daughters still see Imogen on a regular basis.

Ms Hollander, 43, said she wrote the book to break taboos about severe disability and fostering - and to give a voice to thousands of families struggling to bring up severely disabled children.

In the book's introduction, she wrote: "I wanted to do it for myself, for my family and for families with similar stories, now and in the future.

"In the process of creating the memoir, I decided to get in touch with mothers who had similar experiences - people I would never otherwise have met.

"I discovered that, though our present situations might differ, our memories were uncannily alike.

"There was relief on both sides, I think, to share the darkest and most shameful areas of our past."

Ms Hollander's worst fears were realised when months of hospital visits and consultations with doctors finally confirmed that Imogen had been born severely disabled.

Her brother is actor Tom - and in 2005 he organised Childish Things, a charity event in aid of Helen House Hospice in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, where Imogen has respite care.

The Gosford Park star encouraged a host of famous friends to take part in the performance at the New Theatre and the comedy event raised an estimated £40,000 for Helen House.

Among those to take part were Rory McGrath, Bill Nighy and Hugh Laurie - and Jude Law and Sienna Miller were in the audience.

Formerly in the opera world, Ms Hollander was also a writer-in-residence at Campsfield House detention centre in Kidlington.

Comedians Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey have already signed up for Childish Things 4, which is being held in aid of Helen House at the New Theatre on Sunday, April 20.

When the Bough Breaks: A Mother's Story by Julia Hollander is published by John Murray, price £16.99 and is out now.