So, I decided since I cannot comment on this atrocity of an article , that I would write my own post about my thoughts on the cold, lacking education and empathy insult of an “publicized” opinion. ( Hence the title of this blog is the title of the article, not my opinion )
Firstly, I am a mother, of not one but two, children within the Autism spectrum. Each on the opposite end of the spectrum. I have never wished my children never were, I never felt they have wrecked my life and they are not the monsters that article is painting Autistic children or individuals to be.
( And really, a Rain man reference? smh )
Yes, my life has changed. Yes, you do have your worries. Yes, sitters do not come easy and yes, I don’t have much of a social life. Taking care of my eldest is a full time job, having to be available to him at all times, makes working very difficult. My house is usually a never ending mess, I don’t have people over. One thing or one chance visitor out of the regular can send my son into a spiral of emotional wreckage. Going out to visit, proves just as challenging. While usually a parent can sit and chat and enjoy company- I spend my time constantly checking to see what my son is getting into, getting out of, writing on or just keeping him inside.
Ask any parent of an Autistic child about having to run errands; It’s a challenge, to say the least.
BUT do you know what bothers me the most?
Other peoples judgement and opinion. The dirty looks I or we get when out. The comments, the “offering of advice”, the glares when your child is making noise or crying and your stress level is already elevated because you are trying to deal with it yourself…than add on the public at large! It takes a lot of strength to not crack under that kind of pressure. Oh yes, it would be trying to even a Saint!
Speaking of, I get a lot of:
” You have the patience of a Saint” , ” I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t” ,
” You deserve an award”
and of course.. “When I’m feeling sorry for myself and complaining bout my life, I think about you and think- If she can do it, I can do it. I shouldn’t be complaining”.
Yes, I’m glad I motivate people or give people the strength/ motivation to get through their problems but I also don’t want to be looked down on like my life is some sort of worse case scenario for people.
Oh, I forgot this one! – “You should put him in a home”.
I get suggested this, in one way or another, ever so often or at times when I’d be expressing my frustration with what I deal with. It really bothers me.
Of course, according to the people suggesting it, it’s for my best interest of course!
You other parents of special kids know;
“You can’t take care of him forever!” “You need a life too, plus it’ll be good for him.” “You should really think about it and get him on a waiting list now, because some people have to wait for years before they can get them into a home” “How are you going to ever be able to have a relationship with your kids?”
Now, I understand, you see me stressed,tired,frustrated and you “want to help” but is just taking my child away and sticking him in a home,which will likely set him back as well, really in my best interest? My child IS my best interest.
It really makes me wonder, what these people would do to me if I became a burden or responsibility to them? Stick me in a home?
Well, I’m glad you are concerned about me, but not concerned enough to actually “help me”. Yes, I do need a break from time to time and wouldn’t it be great if those same people, giving you advice and horrified by what you had to deal with, actually stepped in and said… ” Hey, I know you’re tired, how about I come pick up your son/daughter tomorrow and take them to the park for an hour, so you could have a break” Or “I’m going to the grocery store, do you need anything that I can pick up for you?” Just some little, simple thing.It doesn’t have to be anything big, anything that costs money or is too time consuming. It’s just the little things, that can make a big difference. Sometimes, even just being a good ear or sharing a few laughs is enough to help someone through the day.
I guess, the basis of what I’m trying to say is- Instead of taking on the attitude of the author of the article that motivated me to write this, why not try to be a little more empathetic, a little more understanding, a little more kind. Remember, above of that is someones child you are talking about and regardless of what physical, developmental or mental disability or issue a child may have..that is the parents BABY. That is their heart, their life and their love. That child is a CHILD ,not a problem, not a life wrecker ,not a terror. That child hurts, cries, laughs and loves the same as any other child and should be looked at and treated that way. Their parents are not in need of pity, either are their children or the life they lead.
There is so much beauty in adversity, so many things we can learn from each other in this life experience, if we just chose love.