Kim has left a new comment on your post "A Mixed Bag":
Lisa, what would be the best way for that mom to handle things? I make similar small talk with moms regularly, and I hate to think that I'd be causing a mom pain because her baby wasn't doing what I asked about yet. If I run into a mom of a special needs child, what should I say when she explains that her baby is delayed? How could I offer support and encouragement without sounding condescending or full of pity?
Kim, this is a good question, and I appreciate your asking.
And the thing is, I don't have an answer. The small talk, the asking if he's doing this or that? That doesn't bother me at all. What caused me almost physical pain was the "Ohhhh . . ." response, and even more, the sudden silence from the other moms standing around, as soon as they heard "Down syndrome." (Now, granted, I admit that I am likely hyper-sensitive to these things, and some of this may be nothing more than my own perception because I am on high alert for people's responses to Finn and his diagnosis).
The truth is, before I had a child with Ds, I would have totally been one of those moms. I know I would have. I know I would have said, "Ohhhh . . ." and then not known what to say.
So it's not that I think their reaction was wrong or anything. I guess, now that I'm on the other side of this thing - now I'm the parent of a child with Ds, and not just a bystander - I just see how people in general, society if you will, views Down syndrome as something to feel bad about. And how can I be mad at those people since I was one of them? I just wish the world were different.
I know that in a lot of ways I totally need to get over myself. I've become so suspicious of people and what they're thinking. Just last night, Joey was in a play at school and I went to see it with my sister-in-law and Finn. And this whole group of people across the aisle from us were ooohhing and ahhing over Finn's extraordinary adorableness (okay, my words), and they jokingly held out their arms and said, "Pass him over here!" And instead of feeling good about it, all I could think to myself was, "Yeah, I wonder if you'd still be going all gaga over him if I told you that he has Down syndrome."
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