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How I Feel When Other Parents Post About Their Healthy Children

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Someone recently asked me a question I thought was worthy of an entire post because it is something I believe needs to be addressed in our culture.

I was asked how it makes me feel — given our circumstances with Tori, our terminally-ill baby — when friends post about their healthy children.

I paused before answering, but it wasn’t a new concept to me. It is something I have thought about almost daily since Krabbe began to appear in Tori. I just wanted to make sure I was clear in my response. I hope you will read this with an open heart and mind and not immediately be offended.

I am human, and there are days when I feel more sensitive about it than others. There are days when it can be challenging to see posts from friends who don’t have to face the things we do, friends who don’t have to consider their genetics when making decisions about expanding their families, friends whose children aren’t dying.

I think if I didn’t feel a little sensitive to this, it would indicate a deeper issue within myself after all, what parent doesn’t wish their child could face fewer challenges? What parent doesn’t want their child to have the best possible life?

All of these things are reminders that I am losing my child and there is nothing I can do about it.

However, if these people are truly my friends, why wouldn’t I celebrate with them? 

Why wouldn’t I be genuinely happy that their children are happy and healthy, that they have such a bright future and are learning new skills daily?

If Tori were still able to do those things, if Tori were still healthy and growing, I would hope they could celebrate with us.

I believe our culture has become far too hypersensitive, and it has reached a ridiculous point. It has to stop. It is a choice to be offended, and it is a choice to be happy for others even when your life isn’t going as you had expected.

Why can’t we celebrate others’ successes even if we aren’t currently experiencing the same success? Whatever happened to personal responsibility for our own emotions, actions and everything else?

I cannot stand how easily offended people have become and how they expect the “offender” to take sometimes drastic measures to ensure they don’t “offend” ever again.

I would never make others feel bad about the fact that their kids are healthy. That is selfish and cruel, and it is definitely unnecessary.

On those days when I am grieving, I choose to take responsibility for my sensitivity. I may need to ignore Facebook posts occasionally or hide the friend from my newsfeed for a while, or even stay off social media for a while, but my friends don’t need to know that. 

It is my responsibility to deal with my own emotions and not steal another’s joy with my selfishness and jealousy. What good does it do to make others feel badly that they have what I so desperately want?

Instead, let’s choose joy, love and harmony.

If I want people to put themselves in my shoes, I need to do the same for them. And that includes being able to celebrate with them when things are going well and take personal responsibility for my own emotions on the tough days.

The word "love" written in cursive across a photo of a street
The word “love” etched into a window in New Orleans.

Follow this journey on The Adventures of the Brackbill Family.

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Originally published: March 5, 2016
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