Monday, October 5, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly -- Day 5

As a mother of two children with special needs, we get the whole spectrum of the above title sometimes on a daily basis. So I wanted to share with you some of the comments that I have heard over the last 5 years. Some people understand and are great.. others…well let’s just say.. they don’t.

THE GOOD

  • “How were you lucky enough to get two?”
  • “You have been blessed.. straight from God”
  • “You have beautiful children .. especially THAT one!” (pointing at Josie)
  • “You are one lucky momma .. I have a child with Down syndrome who has since passed and she was the light of my life. I was lucky too!”
  • “Not all parents get to be blessed by an angel you know!”
  • “Having kids with Down syndrome is like hitting the lottery and it looks like you have won twice!!”
  • “Before I knew you and Josie, I might have considered abortion if I had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, but I have realized that all life is precious and I can’t imagine my life or your life without Josie in it. That is no longer an option!!” (PRAISE GOD!!)

THE BAD

  • “WHY on earth would you CHOOSE to have two disabled kids?”
  • “Better you than me!” ( And my response to that is …Yes it is better me than you!)
  • “You are doing a dis-service to your other two children…they will be strapped with their sibling forever”
  • “Why would you want to adopt ANOTHER ONE??”

THE UGLY

  • Let’s get out of here,,, I don’t want to watch a retarded kid eat!”
  • “Are they sure she has Down syndrome, I didn’t think they were supposed to be that cute”
  • “Why would you want to adopt a defective child?”
  • “You know, he probably will NEVER DO anything?”
  • “Is your daughter retarded?” (My response, probably wasn’t so nice, but I said.. “No, but you are for even asking me that question”)

Because we have two children with an obvious special need, we get the comments when we are out… behind our backs (usually within ear shot of us, but they don’t know we can hear). I just smile and nod… sometimes I feel the need to make a comment and ask if they have a question that I can answer and then they are silent and walk sheepishly away.

I will NOT stand by and let someone disrespect my family right in front of us! I want to set an example for my kids that you have to stand up for yourself. I have even told one mother who kept calling her child to not touch Josie.. “Don’t worry, Down syndrome is not contagious!” Her and I both laughed…..hers though was a nervous, you are right kind of laugh!

I beg anyone reading this to THINK before they stare or say something before thinking it through! Words can hurt more than you know!

5 comments:

Molly said...

The bottom line is that there are SO many therapies to help with the delays that are associated with DS. There's speech, ot, pt, etc

Therapy for being an inconsiderate jerk is much harder to find.

I always struggle with the best way to let parents know I'm on their side. I usually smile at them, but I hope it doesn't come off as patronizing, since i'm 21 and don't have my own kids. I wish there was a secret handshake or something, an "I'm on your side, I value your child and will treat them with respect" fist bump or something

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Ugh I've heard all the ones on your "bad" list all in the last week... I DREAD the ones on your "Ugly" list. Really? Do people REALLY say those things?! I just don't understand! How were people not raised with more... tact... social grace... kindness... HEART than that?! REALLY?! *sigh* I pray I can be strong and stick up to them like you do... for my kids.

Lund7 said...

Good for you!!! I haven't heard any of the bad and ugly comments (to my face anyway) but I pray that I would be tactful yet kind if I did. My natural reaction would be to respond with rudeness however! We need to stick up for our incredible children and educate others! Sounds like you do a nice job at that. I especially love your comment to the person who asked if she was "retarded!"

Andy and Ellen Stumbo said...

Today I was asked if people grow out of Down syndrome :)I thought about your post.
However, my uncle said when we shared Nichole's dx that he had Ds and he grew out of it, we were polite to his face. Later we burst out laughing and wondered if maybe that was it!

JRS said...

Comments on your 'the ugly' list are likely to land me in jail. Got bail $? I'm good for it ;-]
---Jen