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To the People Who Ask Special Needs Parents 'That' Question

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Yes, I am “that” mother and my children are “those” children. We are a family of four — myself, my husband and our two children who have special needs. No, I didn’t drink during pregnancy. No, I didn’t smoke during pregnancy. Nope, not drugs, either. We were just “that” couple who had two children who are a different type of perfect.

This is our life, day in, day out. So before you ask that question… “How do you cope?”, pause and think. What are you expecting in response? For me to say, “Actually, I’m superwoman!” or “Actually, I’m a mess inside… This is my brave going-out face plastered on,” or what I actually feel like saying: “Well, since you seem to be offering, how about watching them while I shower and sleep?” No, of course I don’t say these things. Instead I reply, “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” And that is true; I wouldn’t change our children for the world — not at all. But I do wish I could change the world for them.

Then there is the nosy bunch — usually in the supermarket. No, that backpack can’t come off. No, she isn’t wearing her school bag. No, she’s not a “brat” who wouldn’t leave the cute backpack at home. And no, she’s not stealing anything. Instead, she’s eating.

This is our reality. Staring. It’s so simple, but it does get us down. She’s not being lazy in that chair; she’s being exhausted. No, she’s not enjoying our trip to town; she’s more interested in going home to rest. That bag we talked about before? Yeah, it’s with us again.

All I ask is this: please think about the people you are staring at. If your child was on the other end of those stares, how would he or she feel?

And please, please, please, don’t ask that question.

Yours sincerely,

“That” mum 

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with extreme negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 26, 2016
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