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We Won't Put a Trigger Warning on Our Daughter With a Prosthetic Leg

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I remember being at the pool this summer and my daughter, Callie went to take off her prosthetic leg. She doesn’t swim in it (obviously) and I heard the mom on the chair next to me mutter under her breath “Geez, a little warning would be nice.”
I glanced over at her and she had a grossed-out look on her face. She made the motion to cover her kid’s eyes — as if seeing Callie’s leg without the prosthetic on was triggering for her and her kids.

The thing is… we will never give a trigger warning for Callie’s residual limb.


Trigger warnings are for things that are traumatic, abusive, and painful. Extremely hard things that people have been through. Not a bit of discomfort or uneasiness because YOU aren’t used to being around bodies that look different than your own.

We get that it might be weird for you. Maybe it’s something that you’re not used to or it makes you a bit uncomfortable.
But Callie’s limb is not traumatic or scary — it’s simply different, unique, and unlike what you might be used to seeing in your world. As a disabled person, she doesn’t owe anyone a warning for her presence, existence, or the way she looks. We would never ask her to make someone else feel more comfortable with her disability — that responsibility lies solely with them.

We will always encourage Callie to bravely be herself — regardless of anyone else’s comfort level. Their reactions are evidence that there is some internal work that needs to be done — highlighting things that need to be explored, immersed in, introduced to and things to be healed. And that is on them.

Callie walking with her mom.

Originally published: December 1, 2021
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