Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dr. Phil, Stay at Home Mom's versus Working Mom's

As I sat and watched this show, I kept thinking of better shows that could be featured with this type of concept. Such as Medical Personnel versus Special Needs Moms, Politicians versus Special Needs Moms, Testing Labs/Pregnancy Experts versus Special Needs Moms, Educational Experts versus Special Needs Moms, Parents of typical children versus Special Needs Moms, Unaware Family and Friends versus Special Needs Moms...I'm sure you're getting the idea.

Daily we all face challenges, difficult situations and at times we all feel the strain. As I thought about these shows I couldn't help but think about how each of these situations would help us to bring about awareness, answer questions and hopefully open up hearts and minds to rethinking a situation....or would it be like Dr. Phil's show where they firmly stated their views and opinions but wouldn't stop to listen or reflect, to grow or change.

I have had my challenges with medical personnel who told me my child's future as if they had some type of crystal ball that I didn't have access to. Medical personnel who questioned my gut feel on my child's hearing because they thought I wasn't dealing with the reality of his diagnosis of Down syndrome, brain injury and Apraxia. I have become increasingly angry with the media reports of further testing to help eliminate our children in the future, as if a 92% abortion rate isn't quite drastic enough. I have struggled with educational experts who have failed to understand that every child learns differently and when something isn't working it doesn't mean that the child can not learn but instead that we have not figured out how to teach them yet. I have gotten weary of explaining my child to others but even worse are those that think they know my child and everything he will not be able to do. I struggle with family members and friends that share their thoughts and ideas without spending more than 5 minutes at a time with my child and have never spent time alone with him, have never tried to work or live with him.

But then I look at my son...a child God sent directly and perfectly to me. I know Sam is trying to teach me patience and how to be humble. I look into his eyes and I see a knowledge that only he has, as if he holds my heart, my purpose within him and I need only follow his direction and actions to be fulfilled. I often fail...but he never gives up on me. He remains constant, teaching me persistence and perseverance. When I have become frustrated with him and am at my wits end he tells me "He's sorry" even though it's my actions and perceptions that should really be apologized for. I have never wondered what I did wrong to get Sam but instead I have often asked God why he thought I deserved a child like Sam, a child that loves unconditionally, a child that gives so much more than he takes. I know Sam has so much to teach me, if I take the time to stop, listen, experience and learn. And it is that lesson that I wish I could share with the world.

Who am I to say that my views, thoughts and opinions are always right?? Sam has already demonstrated that's not true. I have been given the privilege of knowing and loving Sam and I always try to keep in mind that these other people do not have this same gift, this little person that changed me and works daily to create a better me. I think we all learn from adversity, from the struggle. We become the people we are because we have to choose how to deal with what we have no control over. I don't want to argue my viewpoint but instead give the world a chance, some time to get to know Sam. I know that if they open their hearts and their minds, like I did, they would have to reflect on who they are, what they are thinking and what they are doing. I love this quote, I think it sums up everything I've just said.

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark


  1. Sue, I am a professor and program director in special education. My strongest message to all my grad students is to build on strengths! We know enough about what kids can't do and why they have a disability. Let's spend time assessing and building on what they can do. Your mom-voice is the strong support we need to work in partnership for our kids. YEAH! I joined the moms-of-kids with disabiilities when my daughter completely crashed and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar (see blog and website if interested). I thought I knew quite a bit after being in the field for 20 years and have a Ph.D. in the stuff. But nothing can prepare you for the day to day strength needed to save your child and to accept life as it is. Hang in there! Thanks for your great writing!

  2. Beautifully said. I love the quote too and can't wait to share with my friends on Facebook!

  3. I stumbled across your blog today and just love it. Especially this post, only a special needs mom would truly understand. So much of what you wrote in this post is my life now. It's so incredible to me that I can relate to total strangers better than family and close friends. I have such a strong desire to promote awareness, not a "poor me" image, which is exactly the way my "stories" are perceived. I hope that you keep writing.