There are few things that really get to me. Working in social media, I scroll through countless offensive and generally awful things on a daily basis. You learn quickly to let things roll off your back or you’ll just feel down all the time. But when I came across this meme while scrolling through my personal Facebook feed, it really hit home. It says, “What if I told you autism parents are just martyr mommies?”
Let me be clear: Having children with autism does not make me a “martyr mommy.”
I’m going to address step-by-step why this is offensive because I really don’t think there was malicious intent by the person in my feed. I think we all have things to learn about situations which are unfamiliar to us, so let’s learn together.
This meme says I cannot talk about my children because they happen to have autism. My children are autistic. If you’ve followed our family for any length of time, you know we celebrate our children for who they are. Autism happens to be part of who they are. Every single parent deserves to talk about and celebrate their child(ren). A child’s disability should never limit a parent from talking about their achievements or family experiences. Like every parent, I will choose to protect my child’s privacy; but I will not be silent about my children just because of their disabilities.
This meme says if I choose to talk about our family life, I am choosing to be a martyr. Life with autism comes with joys and struggles. Every single parent of a child with autism can tell you that. I do not share everything (people who would agree with the meme above couldn’t handle the whole picture), but I do share some of it because that is our life. I protect my children’s privacy here while also being honest about certain challenges we face. I have never once considered myself a martyr. I am a mother. My children face unique challenges. I parent them through it. That is the reality of our life, and not once do I ever want a person to pity us for it. That is the exact opposite of what I am about.
This meme says I should be ashamed of my family. According to this meme, I better not share a single thing about myself, my children, or our family life or I shall be considered a martyr. To me, this is the most offensive part of it all. If you think I should be ashamed of my beautiful, awesome family, that’s on you, not me. I celebrate every single part of our family.
My children are my world. They have autism. I am their proud mother. I changed the meme to a more appropriate representation of our lives. You’re welcome.