Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Some People Need To Get a Filter

I have been reading some of the blog posts over at Mosaic Moments and over at Motherhood Unscripted about children with Mosaic Downs Syndrome and Downs Syndrome.

Yesterday, at Mosaic Moments, I read one about a woman who gave birth earlier this year thinking everything was fine, but was then given the diagnosis for her baby.  She mentioned feeling that her baby was perfect before they told her that her daughter has MDS.

This got me thinking.

To me, all babies are perfect.  Now, I am not an extremely religious person.  I do have my faith, though, and I am very spiritual.  That said, I don’t think God makes mistakes.  I think that all children are born the way God intended.  What some might find to be a flaw or a problem, I think is the grand design.

I do know that some illnesses or diseases that children can have can be devastating to the family and can be very challenging to handle, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I also believe that everything happens for a reason and as it is meant to.  Even the bad stuff.  Especially the bad stuff.  We are given challenges and tests every day, so the devastation that can come with some illnesses and diseases are part of that.  Not a punishment, as some think, but a challenge to overcome.

I hope this doesn’t come across as me making light, because that is not the intent.

I do realize that for some families, the challenge can be more than they can handle.

I also think that those challenges are not intended solely for that family.  They are for all of us.  Not to sound like we should all join hands and sing kumbaya, but we are supposed to be a community.  We are supposed to help and care for each other, especially when someone is facing a difficult time.

I have heard stories, though of the opposite.  Of people putting down families and children with special needs.  It’s bad enough when another child acts this way, but when an adult acts this way, it is disgusting.  From children with autism to MD to DS, people need to not only learn to show some understanding and respect, but also to lend a hand or word of encouragement from time to time.

A friend of mine was telling me about a friend’s daughter.  This little girl is “perfect” except she has a port-wine stain on her face, which is really just a large red birthmark.  It is over her eye, forehead and cheek; it is quite large.  The mother was devastated when she saw this at the baby’s birth.  The baby is one now and is having laser treatment to remove the mark.

The mom is very self-conscious and sensitive about this.  I think, as many parents do, she blames herself.  It does not help that when they are in public, random strangers approach her and ask what is wrong with her baby.

First, nothing is wrong, she has a birthmark.  Second, how ignorant is that?  To walk up to someone you don’t know and say, “hey, what’s wrong with your kid?’

I’ve said it before, but I am often shocked by the ignorance of people.  Not only is asking what is wrong with her baby rude, it is hurtful.  It is hurtful to any parent to imply that their child is wrong.  Whether it’s a birthmark or something more serious.

It can also be damaging to that child.  Do you think they don’t hear you?  Do you think they don’t understand that you think something is wrong with them?  Do you think they don’t ingest that and feel badly about themselves?

I know that I would lose my patience with such questions and turn around to ask what is wrong with them.

I have seen people fly off the handle if someone asks how old their child is and why they are still using a pacifier or a bottle.  So, what makes you think that asking about a birthmark or disease in such a negative tone is less offensive?  I know many people would prefer that strangers come up to them and politely ask what happened if they are disabled rather than the staring or whispering.  I imagine that parents of children with some kind of difference would prefer the same politeness.

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