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… 


Robin said...

Grrrrlll...I just love your attitude. By the way, I'm on blood thinners right now too. Gah. I have been doing them for 18 weeks and I have to do them for the remaining 11 weeks of pregnancy and 6 weeks after. The shots in the belly SUCK. That is all I have to say about that. Also, you will NOT have one of those cute bikini baby belly's. I like to horrify my friends and family by flashing my huge belly bruise. Hahaha.

Also, on the topic of idiots. I hope I'm not one. When we lost our firstborn full term, a daughter, to a clot in the placenta, I actually had people tell me she was better off because she wouldn't be sick. I also had an idiot uncle who I don't speak with anymore ask me if it was really hard at the funeral since I didn't really know her. People are stupid. Forgiveness is the only route. Much love your way for a happy healthy munchkin. Let me know if you are ever in Indiana and we will have a playdate with our GIRLS! WOO HOO!

Molly said...

Fok 'em

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

I am happy for you that you are having a baby. Full stop.
And that she is obviously much cherished and wanted and loved. That is all that matters. You will be an awesome mother. This I know. And I agree with Molly, fuck all the others and their bullshit.

Shona said...

I'm also pregnant, and there are some serious health issues that the baby might (or might not) face, due to genetics. And I'm getting really tired of the endless testing that is offered by the docs as though the baby's whole identity has suddenly become wrapped up in whether this mutation exists. The reality is that even were I to do every test possible and learn an exact mutation that this baby will have, I'm not sure exactly what that will tell me. As with many genetic conditions, the effect of this mutation upon an individual varies widely and is hard to predict...because of course we are all in fact people (with many chromosomes as you point out) and many other factors affecting us. And we are so much more than some number assigned to an extra chromosome or a genetic mutation.

Sorry to hear about the placenta issue, but extremely happy to hear about your little girl, and the joy she has already brought you. i guess in the midst of thoughtless comments (and some uttered with what appears to be thought)I have sometimes felt like banging my head against the wall (or theirs) but in flashes of wisdom (usually short) I have also realized how fiercely this has made me value the joy that this new life is, in a world that doesn't always recognize it as such.

Many Congratulations!

~C said...

I haven't been here for months, and now I see how much I've been missing - wow! So excited for you & the Viking! I hope you'll continue to let us know how you & hija are doing. Sending bloggy-stalker kinds of love from Colorado.

Also, I'm sure it's socially/culturally acceptable for pregnant women to punch people in the face who make stupid, hurtful, and/or thoughtless comments like these. Certainly I must have read that somewhere...

Robin said...

C, I wish this was facebook so I could like your comment. I whole heartedly agree.

CrazyCris said...

You're back!!! Wonderful!!!

And living in the DF again?! I AM SO JEALOUS!!! Extraño tanto esa ciudad... no puedo creer que hace 15 años de mi última visita... Someday...

First of all CONGRATULATIONS on the the pregnancy! A beautiful little daughter... for when? She'll definitely stick out in the hospital at birth, what with being part viking and all! :p My parents say they could ID me amongst all the babies in the hospital from across the room (a redhead born in Panama?! lol!)

As for that extra chromosome... *sigh* I don't know what to say. It probably won't be easy, but I don't think raising a child ever is, no matter how many chromosomes! And you're right, with such crazy parents she's the one who's going to have a lot to put up with! ;o)

I hope the rest of the pregnancy goes through as smoothly as possible! I don't quite understand the placenta issue, except that it's not good... hope it fixes itself!



caroldiane said...

Extranjera - I go away for a few months and you are onto such new adventures I can scarecely imagine - huge, huge, huge, enormous, gigantic, unbelievably wonderful congratulations on the news about this amazing new person!! And yes, thoughts, prayers, love, good fairies, every possible positive juju I can send your way for the rest of your pregnancy and delivery!! This is gonna be epic! xoxox

julochka said...

big hugs. even tho' you're not huggy and neither am i. sometimes they're what's needed.

Indiri said...

I love C's comment. Punching them often does seem like the right decision. Even in the simplest and straight forward pregnancies the ninnies can't keep their traps shut.

I hope the rest of the pregnancy goes smoothly. We'll be waiting for pictures of baby when she arrives. Have you picked her name yet?

Personne said...

People can be so ignorant some times. Or spiteful.

My little sister had trisomy 18, and if I had a dollar for every ignorant or spiteful comment... But that's water under the bridge.

I'm so happy for you, though! You're so lucky!!! :D

I can't wait to follow your blog and see her life unfold. What a gift.

By the way, nice to meet you.


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