Hey, blogosphere, I know I haven’t been on in a while, and not particularly faithful in the first place, but I am signed up to do the MuscleWalk for the MDA in Greenville, SC on May 2nd, and would like … Continue reading
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This makes me unbelievably sad.
It’s not easy caring for a special needs child, and I know that some women can’t face the idea of it, and make the choice to terminate. I don’t understand it, but I know it happens. I don’t speak out on abortion, usually, because I completely disagree with it for myself, but, again, I know it is the parents’ (not just the woman’s) choice and choose not to enter into the semantics of it.
I think every child should be given the opportunity to live, whether it be for moments, or years. We all have a purpose.
Will each of us touch millions of lives, or go on to make some huge global impact, so our names go down in the books for generations? No, absolutely not, but we can touch a few lives, make a few ripples, change someone’s life in some way.
I have known and cared for many people with Downs, and while I am not blind to their physical or mental limitations, I am also not blind to the gifts they have to offer. One has gotten on every last one of my nerves, and pushed every single button I didn’t know I had, then turned around and said he wished he were “normal” like me. Do you know how humbling that is?! I am so far off that “normal” path that the jungle that is my mind obliterates it, but like a child, trying to get their parent’s attention, he pushed until he had it, then completely skewered me with insight. Yes, my life may be difficult, and my mind may take some twisted paths, but I look like everyone else, and can talk to people, and not be spoken to like an idiot (oh, that pisses me off!) I can act like a complete goof, and it’s funny, where he would be deemed “retarded” and frowned at for listening to his music, singing off-key, and dancing in public.
Why? If he feels like singing his joy, and dancing it out, why must he be looked at like a fool? Who are we to say who deserves to live and who doesn’t, simply because they are “different” from the norm?
Why must we continue to shove people in boxes, so they can be accepted by the general public? Why does the general public matter so much? Who are they to me? Do they pay my bills, cook my meals, or share my life? How many of history’s greatest minds would never have been born, had the option to know and abort their babies been given, just because they weren’t going to be the child they expected?
Do I wish that my son were “normal”? Part of me, yes. I love his quirkiness, and his sensitivity, and focus, but it’s not the Autism I would change. I would obliterate the Duchenne, for him and every other person living with it. I would bring about an Egyptian plague kind of obliteration, if I could, to get rid of it, and ever other debilitating disease on this planet. I would give and do anything if my baby boy could run and play with his friends, if he never had to wear the splints to sleep again. I would go to the ends of the earth, chasing some fantasy fountain of perfection to know that he would never face the issues that this disease is storing up for him, but I would never, and I mean NEVER have chosen to abort him. My life, my son, may not be what I expected, and I may be stretched to the limits, and may have left regular stress so far in the dust that there’s not even a word for the level I face every day, but I cannot imagine my life without him. It would be…. less. Simply less.
While I understand what she is saying, the stress involved, the choice she would choose to make today is far different from choosing it when she was pregnant. Saying, now, 47 years later, that she would abort him in a second, is like saying she wishes it were legal to kill him now, because he makes her life too difficult. That is not something a mother would say. Those are the words of a very selfish woman. I am truly sorry that her son, who appears to have spent the majority of his life in one institution or another, has caused her so much distress, but to paint herself as a martyr, when there are so many mothers struggling to balance the needs of their entire family, including their special ones, is like spitting on those who don’t have the option, or choose not to place their child in an institution. Had she been on the front lines, with her son in her home, every day of his 47 years, I could see her attitude, but she has fobbed him off on institutions since he was a toddler, and became too much for her to bear. She has had moments, weekends, of the behaviors that are typical of those with Downs, and does not seem to understand that many of these behaviors are because he is overwhelmed, and doesn’t feel like he has any control. She gets him, decides “We’re off to do these merry things.” and is shocked when he wants his routine, and acts out in the only way he knows how! Had she been there, she would know these things, and would have the necessary skills to cope when he does this. Instead, she gets embarrassed, and wishes, publicly, he had never been born.
Just because he can’t read or talk, and is deemed mentally deficient by doctors who can’t possibly know for sure, if he can’t communicate in their language, does not mean he doesn’t hear, or intuit what she feels. He has probably known all of his life how much she dislikes him, and what kind of life is that for anyone?
I am sorry if my opinion offends anyone, but I grew up seeing mothers sacrifice the lives they wanted to care for their children, and I have seen them stressed and frustrated, but I have never seen one say they wished that child had never been born. I cannot fathom the selfishness, or the hardness of her heart, that she could say that about the child she carried inside herself, that she cared for, however short that time was, and that loves her with an innocence and intensity that is unrivaled by all but the youngest of children.
I know my opinion won’t change anything, and there will still be a lot of women who will choose to terminate their pregnancies, simply because they are afraid of the future with a special child, but I hope more women in that predicament will look to other parents who are in the fight, raising these children, and get their side of it. There are tons of support groups, and pages on Facebook. A simple Google search can open many doors to hear both sides of the story. It won’t always be sunshine and lollipops, but neither is parenting a neuro-typical child. They both come with challenges, and if we knew that our “normal” children were going to be drug addicts, or murderers, or whatever other negative things you can think of, would we start selectively terminating those pregnancies, as well?
Do we want a diverse planet, full of different minds, thoughts, views, opinions, or do we want a world full of “normal” and perfect, a pandemic of monotonous drones, all happy to dress/act/look/think alike?
Where would that line of acceptable choice be?
You know how, sometimes, when things are bad, all you can see is the bad in your life? The bills that are barely paid, the random groceries that make no sense together, but you cant afford to go to the store, the things that you need, yet have no idea how you will get them… Anyway, whatever bad thing you deal with, and you start to beat yourself up, and just wanting to quit?
Yeah, I’ve been there the last few days, and it sucks (I’ve told y’all I’m bipolar, right?)
Thankfully, I have learned to see the cycle, but it makes it no easier, really, to keep a grasp on things, and not let myself sink into that warm, dark place, where I am worthless and the world would be better without me (hang on, I’m going somewhere, I promise). I have learned to truly picture the world without me, and, while most of you really wouldn’t notice (I’m no narcissist, for sure!) I know my babies would, and it would be hard for Chris to do all that I do, and still work, and be so far from family, but going back home is not an option, because all of Asa’s specialists are here, and none of the ones in Pensacola would care quite as much as the ones he has here do, and, besides that, I wouldn’t want his care to be sacrificed because I am having a weak moment, so I know I’ll push through for them.
I have also noticed that when I get like this, I lose focus on the struggles of others for a bit, and actually become jealous of those that seem to have it better than us at that moment, even if I know that they are struggling, too. It’s a crazy blindness, and it sucks. That is, until something happens to break through the dark curtain and pierce my heart for someone else.
Today, that happened, and I wish it hadn’t. Today, when I logged on, I saw that one friend, who just lost her aunt, lost her baby nephew after a long battle with cancer. Another friend, who has a very premature baby, watched yet another family lose their angel. He was so tiny. Another’s husband is struggling to survive.
I saw all of this, and started crying, not just for them, but for myself. How can I be so self-absorbed when my problems are really nothing compared to theirs?! Yes, I have problems, and they are real, and they suck major balls, but I will get through them, like I always do. God has carried me through some pretty dark places. But, I have today. I have my children, and they are happy, and healthy, and they are loved and loving. I have enough food for them to have their three meals today, maybe even a snack. I have gas in my car for Asa’s appointment, and the wheelchair van, while it is a need, it’s not an immediate, right now, need. It will be a few months, from what I understand, to get his power chair, and, if it has to stay parked in my living room until we save enough for a used van, or a down payment on something not quite as old as I am, it will work out, I don’t know how, just that it will.
My current problems will pass. They are nothing compared to watching my child die (and I pray daily for a cure for MD, so I don’t have to go through that. I am that selfish) or my husband struggle to survive, while I also worry about all of these things, since he’s the breadwinner, and if he didn’t make it, I’d really be in a spot, having to choose between my kids care and survival. I pray I never have to go through that, and that I can prevent him from going through it because I allowed my inner demons to win.
Today, I fight. I fight to regain a bit of happy, a bit of self-love. I fight to prove that I am stronger than those voices telling me I am weak and worthless. I fight to show my kids that they are worth living for. I know the demons will come back; they always do, but today I fight them, and that makes me just a bit stronger next time they rear their ugly little heads, and that’s all I can do.
Side Note: Some of you may wonder if I am on medications for depression of bipolar – I am not. I have tried several, but because my swings happen so sporadically, taking medications to equalize my moods tend to make me very blah, kind of robotic, and to not care at all. Basically, they take all the quirks that are me, and push them down to where I am a very numb person, and that, to me, and to my family, is worse than dealing with the cycles when they appear. On meds, I don’t care at all, like, if my house were on fire, and my kids were in it, I would take a nap. Without meds, I may be a bit erratic, not caring about some things, then blowing up next time it happens, but I feel, and it’s better to feel something than to feel nothing.
Okay, so we’ve all seen the videos of sick kids singing Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’, and everyone has claimed it as their anthem, right? No argument, it’s a great song, and when it first showed up on my news feed, it was on a survivor of Domestic violence’s page, Melissa Dohme, who I greatly admire. I heard it, and, being a survivor myself, was like “Whoah!” and would rock out to it as my own personal anthem. Then I saw the cancer kids singing it, and it was different. These kids are fighting for their lives, and yet telling cancer to kiss it, which I love.
Today, the song hit me like a Mac truck to the heart. My son has been enthusiastically singing it when he hears it, which I thought was adorable. Today, as we were both singing it, I realized how much this song really pertains to him. He has Autism, which sets him up to be the ‘weird kid’ and has caused some comments to be made that he isn’t even aware of, but piss me off royally. That’s a good reason to her the song differently, right? Yeah, that’s not enough. He also has Becker/Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and I see him struggle everyday, falling more, getting tired trying to keep up with the other kids, even lifting little 2 pound weights over his head requires both hands. I’ve noticed the backwards lean that is so common in these boys, but shouldn’t be obvious until he’s 8, according to most timelines I’ve found. He just turned 7 last month. He’s in a literal race against time and his body, and there’s nothing I can do, but make him happy. Yes, I probably spoil him and coddle him, but I can’t make myself look into his baby blues, and not see what he’s facing, and be okay with causing him any sadness. Yes, I tell him no sometimes, but not nearly as much as some think I should.
I digress. This is about the song, and how it hit me like a semi today. So, here I am, singing (quite badly, of course) along with Katy Perry, and my little boy is just rocking out, rocking back and forth, and gesturing, and I realized, this is HIS song. Yes, many claim it, but this is HIS song. He may not know the battle he’s up against, but he’s already declaring that he’s gonna fight. He’s gonna give it all he has, and he’s not gonna be afraid. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of blind strength, faith, and determination. Maybe I should take a page from his book. Maybe we all should.