Thursday, May 12, 2005

Advice

Dear parents of typically developing children,
  1. Please don't feel afraid to talk to us about our children. Just like you, we love our children. Just like you, we love to talk about our children.

  2. But please don't just ask about our children's problems. Think about what you like to talk about with your kids. We're probably not that different.

  3. When you're asking us how our children are doing, please omit the "yet" (e.g. "Is she walking yet?").

  4. Please don't feel sorry for us, and please don't deify us. We're just mothers, just like you. Our kids have some special challenges, but we're dealing with them as best we can, just like you would in our shoes. But our kids' special needs aren't the most important thing about them. First and foremost, they're our beautiful, much-loved children.

Sincerely,
One mother of a child with special needs


I had a wonderful talk with a good friend of mine the other day. When Ellie was born, she never asked to hold her. At first I appreciated this. Ellie had a heart defect and we were very worried about her getting sick so I didn't like to let others hold her. After Ellie's heart defect was repaired, I thought that maybe Ellie's Down syndrome made my friend uncomfortable.

Later I learned that she was undergoing painful fertility treatments and dealing with infertility issues. Being around babies made her uncomfortable because it was a constant reminder of her struggle. Her desire not to hold Ellie was nothing about Ellie at all. My friend always wanted to have lots of kids. Others got pregnant so easily, yet still she waited, began the process of pursuing an adoption, and waited some more.

I mentioned something about Ellie's Down syndrome and she was surprised. She doesn't see Down syndrome when she looks at Ellie. She sees a little girl. "9 times out of 10," she said, "I don't even think about that. I just see Ellie."

Oh, that's so nice to hear.

7 comments:

none said...

"9 times out of 10," she said, "I don't even think about that. I just see Ellie."

Love sees beyond the shell...

Psycho Kitty said...

Your writing these past few weeks has been especially open and moving and funny and wonderful. Just saying.

Sarahlynn said...

Ciara: true! But it's nice to be reminded that others love my child, you know? Not because of or in spite of her Down syndrome, just for who she is. Ahhhhh.

Psycho Kitty, thank you!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

We should all have friends as precious as yours! You are blessed in so many different ways but then ~grins~ ya already know that. Just reading your blog makes me wanna smell a baby!

PPB said...

I haven't met Ellie, but her pictures register with me as "cute kid", not "cute Down's kid". I only remember she has Down's when you mention it.

Yael - Ein Shem said...

my children are not special needs children and I hate questions that end with "yet". stop comparing!!!!

Zoe said...

Ellie is definitely a cute, charming kid. If it weren't for my glasses I would have taken you up on trying to hold her.