Since having my daughter I have noticed that it seems to be a common preconception that parents of special needs children become better people, I do think it’s true that you realise what’s important in life (it turns out walking isn’t such a big deal). You become more accepting of difference and you notice and enjoy the smaller things, you stop moaning about the little things. However, I have also noticed that I have become less tolerant of people who moan about the small things, I am very intolerant of those who use disabled parking spaces because they are getting older, yet can still walk.
I don’t feel like a better person. Who knew that the words ‘I’m pregnant ‘ from friends and family would fill me with such strange emotions. I started having children early; I was 25 when I had my daughter and already had a 5 year old son. I know I sound like a terrible person but while my initial reaction is of course that I am so very happy for them, it’s quickly replaced with another feeling, one I cannot even name. This is what goes through my head:
“I’m sorry I cannot talk about pregnancy with you, it’s because I don’t want to scare you. I don’t want you to think that because you felt a pain in the same place I did that there is something wrong with your child. I am sorry if I don’t jump for joy if you are having a girl, I feel jealous.
I know how much you are looking forward to ballet or gymnastics lessons and buying pretty girl's shoes & dresses because I was too (dresses just don’t work when you can only crawl. AFO’s and pretty shoes, never going to happen!). When your baby is born, I am truly happy for you but it’s also a reminder of what I wanted. In six months time your child will have physically overtaken my daughter, they will be sitting on the floor, soon after you’ll be bursting to tell me all about how close they are to standing and walking.
People always say their children are so clever for learning to walk, it makes me mad. You’ll talk about how you can’t wait to get rid of the pram because it’s a nuisance to get in and out of the car. After a while you will realise my daughter can’t do the trips to the park, long walks, soft play or bike riding – and then I know that we will see less and less of you.
You’ll worry they are not reading quickly enough or writing neatly enough when my daughter can’t hold a pencil. I sound bitter and selfish, I know I am not a good person. I do want you to be able to talk to me, I’m just sorry if sometimes I don’t respond in the way you expect me to, because I probably just want to cry and scream or tell you how I truly feel but this is your time to enjoy your baby.
And really I know I wouldn’t change my daughter for the world.”
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