Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 20-04-2011
Tags: healthy kids, triggers
There has been a rash of pregnancies in my life lately (but none for me, calm down mom). I think this is why I am suddenly struck with how many times I have heard the following exchange. “Do you want a boy or a girl?” asks the person, and mostly the expectant mom deflects that question by saying “we don’t care, as long as it’s healthy”. The same week I saw a funny video on Facebook (I know, right? What are the odds?) called “Pregnant Women are Smug” by Garfunkel and Oats–a female comedy/musical duet. You should watch it. If you have ever known or have been a pregnant woman, you will laugh your freckles off.
Let’s add another layer. I am part of a program in the area that matches expecting families who have children that test positive for genetic abnormalities in utero with families that are raising kids with the same issues. Most people are tested early enough to still have the option to terminate the pregnancy so they are interested in meeting with us to help them decide what they want to do. We have done this almost a dozen times. As far as I know, not a single family has elected to continue the pregnancy. So, this means that we entertain people in our homes, show off our awesome family and especially the Amazing Ace, and they leave thinking “I would never want to do THAT”. Trust me when I tell you that I GET IT. I am a member of a very conservative religion where termination of pregnancy for any reason other than danger to my life would be grounds for excommunication. And I STILL considered it and though about it very, very carefully. I get the feelings of overwhelming grief and thinking “who is going to take care of this child when I die?” I would have done anything to un ring the bell. I didn’t want any part of this life.
It takes all the control I have not to just take these people and just SHAKE them until I can make them understand that what they are afraid of is not really that scary. I don’t know how I could better help them know that THIS child, the one that they are fearful is going to be more good than bad. That child will be more like other kids than not like them (they will just do things in their own way and own timeline). I want them to know HOW WRONG I was when I thought I could not do it and that they are wrong too. All the things that I worried about when faced with having a child with special needs are things that I don’t even think about anymore. The things that I do worry about are the same things that I worry about with my other kids. Will they be happy? Will they ever stop picking their nose in public? And sweet-mercy-WHEN-are-we-going-to-get-the-potty-training-thing -down?. Maybe not quite that simple, but you get the idea Yes there is extra work. Yes there is a certain amount of shifting around how you run your life. But mostly, she isn’t that different. . I spend my days trying to help my kids get the skills they need to be happy and productive. That end result looks different for all of them. No big deal. I have three kids with three very different sets of needs. I realize that there are families out there who have children that are much more medically fragile than mine are. I KNOW there are parents out there that have kids that are much less emotionally stable than mine are (and that is saying a lot). I have a funny feeling that if you asked them, their answers would be similar to mine.
So, while I get it why people answer the whole boy or girl question with the “as long as it’s healthy” answer, I wish that I could let people know that even when you don’t get” healthy” it is still really awesome. I think that a better answer would be “we don’t really care, as long as he/she gets here”. Or just pick a gender (why is that so bad? Isn’t it ok to have as much of a preference about your child’s gender as you do about what to have for lunch?) All our children are amazing and annoying to raise (don’t pretend yours aren’t). People with sick kids would love for them to be “healthy” but they are still glad they are here. Those of us who don’t get “healthy” are doing just fine thankyouverymuch. I was just thinking about this over the last few weeks and realized how often I heard this and wondered if it triggered anyone else. I am woman enough to admit that it bothers me. I am even woman enough to admit that might not be very rational, but it is a trigger. And there it is.
And for the record, I do hope your kids are healthy. I hope mine are healthy. Mostly I hope they are happy