Lots o’ favorites to report on up in these chilly parts and I really planned to write a normal Five Favorites post to share them all. But then I got this post in my Feedly last night, and it’s all I can think about. So be sure to read it and then, I’ll thank you to tolerate my soapbox preaching.
I don’t think becoming a mom of handicapped children has made me über sensitive to most phrases people throw around, but Jeanette is right on the money with this one. Yes, we all want “healthy” children but let’s try to see the value in every child shall we? If God sends you with a child who has Down Syndrome, autism, or a neuromuscular disorder you’re still blessed! Your life may not be as you imagined but it’s not over. You, your spouse and your child can still be happy!
Pre-natal testing means tons of children are not being born because their parents are afraid of the possibility of raising a special needs child. (And shame on the doctors who promote this.) To these parents I want to say, you are denying yourself the opportunity to raise a wonderful child! You can indeed love a child who doesn’t have ten fingers and ten toes. People like me, and Jeanette and all the other parents of special needs children I’ve met are not super heroes or saints. We’re just like you. We love our children, regardless of whether or not they meet society’s definition of healthy or normal. I pray everyday that Fulton and Teddy are miraculously healed but I’d rather have Fulton and Teddy as they are, then a family of only three healthy children. None of us regret having our children. None of us would have it any other way.
Yes, it’s hard. But most people are capable of doing hard things for their kids. Of all my friends and family members, I can’t think of any who couldn’t do what I do day in and day out. It might not be a cross they’d ask to receive but it’s not impossible. And if you think you’re not capable of making such sacrifices for your child, then I question your ability to make sacrifices for your spouse or a healthy child. I don’t believe you’re really that selfish, do you?
I’ve also met older people with SMA and they have such a wonderful outlook on life! They’re not miserable. When people argue it’s better or “unselfish” to not bring another child with special needs into the world, because the poor children suffer so, they obviously live in a bubble. Go out and meet people with special needs! Meet my boys! Will you find some unhappy people? Sure. But I know lots of unhappy people with nothing wrong with them except a piss poor attitude. Should we create a prenatal test so we can weed out grumpy people? Cause they’re pretty difficult to handle to you know.
So let’s be honest, people don’t just want healthy kids, they want easy parenting. They want no surprises. They want first day of school pictures, and little league games, proms, graduations, weddings and healthy grandchildren. But there’s no test that can guarantee that. If you open yourself to parenthood, you are open to all it has to offer, the good, the bad and the unexpected. No one is guaranteed a healthy child. And yes, that means parenthood can be scary, painful, heart-breaking and downright anguishing. But I promise you, regardless of the health of your child, parenthood is wonderful, joyful, exciting, and better than anything you can imagine. That child is worth it. Always. Be not afraid!