Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What not to say

Some people say hurtful things. They might not mean them, but there they are, the insensitive ignorant pieces of shitty thinking, hanging over the discussion, forever marring my dealings with the utterers.

Me: The doctor's saying the placenta is not working properly, and there are more calcifications than there should be. I'm only 22 weeks and the placenta looks like it's 30 weeks. I'm gonna have to go on blood thinners. This is not good!
A friend: Is there still a chance the baby could die? And if so, how do you feel about that?

The Viking: We're having a little daughter in a few months. We're so excited and glad! She'll have Down syndrome, but in today's world that's just a little bump in the road. We're so happy!
The Viking's close relative: Congratulations! At least she'll be spared from a lot of the misery of the world we others have to go through, since she'll have Down.

Me: I'm having a little girl and she'll have Down syndrome. We're really excited, but it's been hard since there have been all sorts of problems with the pregnancy.
A woman I just met: How brave of you to go through with the pregnancy and have this child, even though you already know she'll have Down.

Me: We're expecting a girl. We already know it's a girl, because we've had her karyotype done. From the karyotype, we also know she'll have Down syndrome.
A friend's mother: Oh, but kids with Down are always so happy. It'll be great to have such a happy, smiling child!

The Viking: There's something wrong with the baby. We don't know what yet, but we're having tests done. It might be something so severe that we'll have to terminate the pregnancy.
The Viking's mother: Yes, of course you'll terminate if the baby's not healthy.

And there's more. There's even some stuff that is just clearly offensive or intolerant and meant like that, like why am I bringing someone not perfect (and what the hell is 'perfect' supposed to be anyway?) into the world when I had a chance to stop it from happening, while on the other side there are thanks for not murdering my baby regardless of that having nothing to do with our decision with both of us being bleeding-heart pro-choicers. Not kidding. There's a lot. A lot to deal with.

And she's not even here yet.

So no wonder I've been pulling away. Not wanting to hear completely unnecessary (and frankly very offensive) commiserations. Not wanting to hear ignorant comments about the perceived nature of ALL children with Down syndrome as if they are completely ruled and determined by this one extra chromosome and not in the least the 46 others. Not wanting to hear one more time how especially courageous we are, when courage has nothing to do with having a child with Down syndrome and everything to do with just having a child. Not wanting to explain time and time again how our daughter will have a full range of emotions from that humongo-tantrum-enraging anger to giddy happy hysterics (if she's anything like me that will be the scale), the ability to learn and develop like any other child (even if that development will happen somewhat more slowly in her case), and a bright future ahead of her with friends, education, coffee, jobs, boyfriends (or girlfriends should she be so inclined), and all that which comes with growing up. And most of all, not wanting to justify my joy and happiness for this, the approaching birth of my first child, my daughter, who I thought had already disappeared from my deck of cards, nor justify my deepest desire for her to pull through the misery the placenta is currently being held responsible for and arrive here safely, just the way she is.

I hope you're smarter. At least I will be.

 Think before you blow.


Bloghopping with Down wit Dat with an old, OLD post. This is pre-birth, so excuse the budding advocacy…