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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

STOP WHINING

Stop Whining. imagesw

I can’t take it anymore.

If I have to hear one more “woe is me” story about how terrible your life is because you have a child with special needs, I am going to smack you. Or Facebook defriend you (which is like the same thing.) Or just stop talking to you. Because – it not only makes me sick to my stomach, but it is really starting to piss me off.

Stop Whining.

No one feels sorry for you. Because they shouldn’t.  You know what?
Everyday – you wake up and get dressed.  You have a conversation with other people.  You walk around.  You eat your meal.  You don’t have seizures.  You don’t have special needs.
News Flash:  Your CHILD deals with these difficulties.  Your Child.  When I look at Alexander – he smiles.  Doesn’t your child?  And yet, You make references as to how difficult your life is?  Why?  Because you have experienced seizures that last for hours?  Why?  Because you have been poked and prodded and stuck repeatedly – because you have tiny veins? No. These things happen to your child. Where is the sympathy for your child?

I’m just tired.  We all struggle.  Lack of sleep, marital issues, feelings of negligence toward our other children.  We all understand.  We all want to support each other.  There are times when all parents have down moments. There are times when all parents need to vent, share, and express our worries.  But – your worries seem less about your child, and more about you.

I have friends, in real life and on the internet who live my greatest fear, and pity themselves less than you do.
 
I can no longer be friends with people who continue to pity themselves for struggles their children face. 
When a child is living, smiling, hugging, … begging for love – and all I hear is how tough your life is … I’m just frustrated.  Try giving your child a break.  Try empathizing with your child.  Try asking for prayers for your child.  Try not to ask, “why me?”  There are lots of people who would love to be where you are.  With a child who just loves unconditionally. And, frankly – I can’t take the whining anymore.

*Exception… Parents who just receive life altering news.  You are entitled to grieve in any way you know how… for the loss of your dreams, etc.  Having a child with special needs can be a lot to absorb… Everyone understands if it takes you some time to adjust to the news.

Ok. Go ahead. Let me have it. I know this is probably the most … aggressive …. post I’ve written. You can feel free to let me know if you agree or not.

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15 Comments:

At September 13, 2011 at 8:51 AM , Blogger Emily said...

Good morning Kristen - as always, i like your post and I agree w/ you. After H had his OT eval last spring the therapist said, "now what are three things we should focus on to make your life easier?" I was shocked, and may have burst into tears, and said, "This isn't about making my life easier, it's about making things easier for him." She was really surprised by my reaction and said that no parent had ever responded to her question that way. I knew then we'd be looking for a new therapist.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Kisses4Kaylee said...

Hmmm....I suppose I could take some of the coments here personally, because I know and readily admit that I have been among those who have struggled to accept the WHS diagnosis~ especially in the light of my older daughter's many medical issues. However, everyone is an individual and has their own history at the heart of their situation; to suggest that there is one "right" way to express those feelings is a bit narrow-minded. I think the problem you describe lies in the structure of facebook (I exclude blogs as blogs serve different purposes for different people). For one, the person typing is writing a status about themselves: "Jane Doe is ...." Hence, it is natural that some people might write their status update from their view of a sitaution-- even though it is obvious that the care, love and affection for their child's health/challenges is at the heart of the post. As for the tone coming across as complaining, that is often perceived through individual lenses. If someone already has a preconceived perception of an individual as being too "whiny" or "too phony", etc, or if they are used to judging an individual based on isolated incidents, then they will read the words through that lens. The same post can be read from someone's eyes who sees a different side of that individual as not being "whiny" but merely expressive or even brave~ especially people who know that individual longer and more intimately understands the challenges that individual has faced in his/her life. When I read posts like you describe, I merely give my support and... let's be real... some people need it more than others. I don't stand in judgment of others; I offer what I can (even if all I can offer is silence). I could never accuse a mom who is having a rough day with their child and is seeking support of friends and loved ones of being self-absorbed and only concerned about themselves; it is too long of a stretch and unfair to that individual. If a mom 'cries' about her child going back to the hospital for another seizure and that they are at the brink, the last reaction I have is that they should be grateful for their life and sorry for their child. To me, it is clearly understood that their anguish is a direct result of their love for that child; and although they may not explicitly be asking for prayers, I understand that the message within is for exactly that. That said, I do feel uncomfortable when people "air their dirty laundry" or insult others publicly online. Facebook should never be a venue for people to insult, deride, or purposely make others uncomfortable...and sadly, people do-- some more than others. All in all, I choose to not be too hasty or harsh in my judgments of others; I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Those who are more vocal, I offer greater sympathy...it is the way I was raised, and for me, it more accurately reflects the philosophy by which I live my life~ let he who lives in glass houses cast the first stone. Me? I don't live in a glass house...not by a long shot.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Michelle & Weldon Gainey said...

WOW!!! Kristen, I feel the same way right now with a particular mom!!! She literally just put down every feeling I have about the way people view their child and the "woe is me" attitude!!

 
At September 13, 2011 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Shell said...

We had a really rough week here last week... and I'll admit I spent several days in non-stop tears. They were tears of helplessness... b/c I can't do anything to help my child.

And so,I cried.

I want to be able to help him. His life is hard.

And I lost it a bit b/c I'll be honest- it IS hard on me, too. Sometimes, I just wish I could be cut a break.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Manda said...

I know exactly what you mean. There are those that do it every so often and as moms to special needs kids we have to get it out and vent or we would explode and there are those that live it. I know that I am guilty of it.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous Teresa K said...

When Patrick was born, we were told that he might have delays because of his prematurity and we said, "That's ok, we're used to that. We've got early intervention on speed dial." When he struggled to eat and grow and they suggested a G-tube I joined an online support group for moms of tube-fed kids and figured we'd manage. When it looked like he'd need a trach and a ventilator to go home, I started watching videos on the subject. Then one year ago today, I held Patrick as he died.

Yes, life would have been challenging for Pattycake, but he faced each new difficulty with strength and a smile. He liked life; even stuck in the NICU for 5 months he found things to be happy about: music, bath time, kisses, massage, his mobile. I miss handling his problems.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM , Blogger JenConnelly said...

I agree with Kisses4Kaylee......very well said.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 2:19 PM , Blogger michelle said...

Kristen, I hear what you are saying. However, I think we all need to "walk a mile..." and truly HEAR this mom who a couple of people seem to be frustrated with. She speaks from a place of pain and frustration, so it seems to me. Some of us feel like judging that and attempting to really know what is in her heart, but that cannot truly happen unless you truly KNOW her on a more personal level than what facebook offers. I challenge the moms who are having issues to pick up a phone and have a heart-to-heart chat. Get to know each other FOR REAL and with voices that can actually be heard over a phone line. It can make all the difference in the world. Please, EVERYONE, try your very hardest NOT to judge others especially the moms who share in these special groups. We all need each others' support and love and encouragement. YOU ALL KNOW THIS IS TRUE. We should all be available for each other because after all we all have our children and their conditions as our connectors....and to understand our children and their daily struggles is to understand ALL of these kids as well as the parents/grandparents/family members etc and THEIR daily struggles also.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Kristen said...

I have to say - first ....
I LOVE all the different points of view. I do not want to "water down" the message of my original post. I knew it was harsh when I wrote it. However, now that I have read it as an outsider would (without knowing my personal dialog) - I would like to clarify some points.

We ALL have moments. All. I just wrote this long comment about today, but decided to keep today's events out of this post. The point was - I cried. A lot. Tears of frustration. Tears of .. pity. BUT... SOME moms make all the issues going on with their child about how it impacts their life. Yes - in my opinion - all moms have the right to feel this way sometimes. It is the moms who act this way all the time that have driven me to this desperate post. I hope that makes it a little more clear. Not that we can't wallow or feel pity ... but - when all I ever hear is pity for the "parent" - I just need to walk away.

But please - don't let this comment end the perspectives. I love them!

 
At September 13, 2011 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Kristen said...

Oh - Michelle... this post wasn't directed at anyone in particular. In FACT... a person completely outside the WHS community prompted my eventual post on this topic.

 
At September 13, 2011 at 5:30 PM , Blogger michelle said...

Good to know Kristen, I just know of some of the discussions that have taken place over the past week or so and feel very badly for a particular mom in the whs community. Another mom in the same community has an obvious issue with her and I find it very odd. I think she has not taken the time to really get to know her. I have spoken with her more and more and find her very friendly and insightful. She also does vent and I find it completely appropriate as I can also relate to some of the things she is going through. Everyone has times when they need to vent and in a community such as the ones set up on FB, if a person can not say how they feel, then what good is the "support" group anyways? People need to stop taking things so personally and realize just how another might be really feeling and provide that needed shoulder.....

 
At September 13, 2011 at 8:14 PM , Blogger Kerry said...

Sometimes depression can make you feel like the world is against you. Having been in that dark place before...and having come back into the light...I realized (after the fact) how self-centered I had become in my depression. Things spiral, you feel crapped on, your tired, not sleeping, angry and feeling VERY bad for yourself. So many of us have been there, right?

I think if someone see someone else posting those kinds of messages, they should reach out and offer them help. Clearly the person is overwhelmed and maybe struggling in that dark place.

People have the best intentions. We have to always start there. I can't imagine any mother would be putting herself before her child. We are all mothers.

Yesterday I was at Target with the kids. The mother in the check-out next to me was screaming at her kids. Her boys were using VERY bad language and one even hit her. She was yelling...they were crying...it was ugly. My first response? (In my head.) "That woman is saying terrible things to her kids. I can't believe she allows that to happen. Clearly those boys learned that language from home." etc.

We walked out the door and Cole turned to me and said, "Those people were having a really bad day." You know what? He put me in my place. I don't know her, her situation, their family background...anything! Who was I to think those things. My (almost) 4-year old put me in my place.

I think everyone is entitled to an opinion...but no one should pass judgement.

Not saying that YOU are. (Yours sounded more like a vent.) I just had this whole thing happen to me yesterday at Target and it got me thinking about stuff.

 
At September 14, 2011 at 1:01 AM , Blogger Non-Stop Mom said...

Oh Kristen...once again, I think that we are twins, separated at birth.

While I don't deal so much with moms of special needs kids, some of the things that I see on facebook are just unreal. As you said, the airing of dirty laundry - it can be disgusting. I've seen some amazing stuff before. I have some friends who only post things about how horrible their lives are, and do the "I'm leaving facebook forever" routine, and then 2 days later they're back.

I understand that everyone has issues - Lord knows I've had them myself - but there are more appropriate ways to address them. I'm also guilty of doing it myself, but hopefully I haven't done it lately.

Besides, I can always use my blog to rant. ;)

:)
Amy

 
At September 14, 2011 at 1:49 PM , Anonymous A Mother's Thoughts said...

Hi there, I understand your concerns! I guess it's all in the way that you and everyone else can cope with stress. Everyone is different. You being the mother of a special needs child deserves huge respect and props! You can and havedealt with way more then alot of us will ever experience! Be proud, because you are amazing and doing a wonderful job!!

Lynn

 
At September 29, 2011 at 2:28 PM , OpenID fromthebungalow said...

Kristen,

Thanks for the reminder that our kids are the ones who struggle the most with their disability, not us. I've accepted the territory that comes with my son's disability. Compared to others, it's not that bad. Furthermore, it will never be as hard on me as it is on him. He's the one who has to learn to navigate in this world, and I'm the willing participant. Yes, we all have our down moments, but we push through it.

There was an article a few weeks ago about a woman who decided to kill herself because she couldn't handle the life her son's disability had doled out to her (Ben Barnhard). But rather than finding help or checking out on her own, she felt it would be best to kill her son, too, just to "spare" him the difficult life of surviving a parent. Completely selfish and sick. Obviously, that's an extreme example, but your point is not lost.

If folks need help, they should definitely ask for it. But you're right about gaining some perspective.

 

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