What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Cannot cope

I've been painting and thinking today.

I've been painting the window sill and back door of the garage today. I find it very relaxing to move the brush up and down, each brushstroke another small step to changing the colour scheme of the house. And while I concentrate on keeping my brush steady and straight, away from the glass window or brick wall, my mind goes wild. The more tricky the painting, the wilder my brain goes. Backwards and forward through the different sides of the argument, while the brush goes slower and ever more steady along the brick wall.

This morning, I read another one of Dave Hinsburger's excellent posts on eugenetics and screening out babies with a disability before I cleaned my brushes. One of the comments he collected stuck a chord – and stayed in my head:

Some people simply cannot cope (her emphasis) with a physically or mentally handicapped child, for many complex reasons and it's not my place or anyone else's to pass judgement on them.

I think this one stayed with me during my painting session because this is one of those comments we get a lot.

You know the "I don’t know how you cope" comments. I never know how to respond to such things. I generally say something non-descript about how we all get our challenges in life or some such nonsense.

Today, while painting the left garage window Pearl White, it hit my how I really want to respond. People say they couldn't cope with a disabled child. Well, it's bullshit.

Excuse the language. I know it's not very diplomatic, but that's just what it is.

If you had told me 8 years ago that I would have a child with a disability, I would have told you that I wouldn't know how to cope.

But you know what?

You grieve for your child, for how much harder things will be in their life. You scream and cry. And then at some point, you move on, and you cope. What other options are there? Like with everything in life, you somehow eventually simply cope.

I think it's called growing up.


manfred.fabig said...

Ja, makkelijk gezegd, dat je het niet zou aankunnen. Maar wat helpt dit! En dan nog, wij weten toch, en hebben het ook al vaker gezegd, dat jullie 2 heel heel sterk zijn en dat wij trots op jullie zij. Blij je binnenkort te kunnen knuffelen.

Jacqui said...

Cope, Smope. I've been thinking a lot lately too. Moo told me the other night that he is going to walk when he is 5 and that he would take himself to the toilet. And I didn't know what to say in response.
Moo isn't the hardest part of my day. Having said that, with four kids my life is exhausting. Not to mention our own business and working full time.
Maybe if he had a life threatening condition of something then that would be really difficult to cope. Instead, he is my absolutely stubborn, incredibly difficult to get away from the playstation and into bed, mischief maker, four year old. If only everyone was as lucky as I am.

Shannon said...

I have to say I agree.
You cry, you stomp, you sit up nights :), you worry, you LAUGH, you LOVE, you ENJOY, you WONDER.
You just do it. I get that comment a lot, which considering all the stuff we don't have to deal with seems a bit strange sometimes. My reply is that you just do it. If you don't think that you can cope, it is because you have never had to.

Dave Hingsburger said...

The most difficult thing to cope with is the assholes who think you have to cope. Is that irony, I never know.

Sharon said...

Oh yes I really get this! I am so fed up with this thing. I am made out to be some sort of hero by some, for "coping" with my son. WTF? What else am I supposed to do!?
I am no supermum. I am no more organised, fit, strong, sunny or able than anyone else. I just refuse to wallow in self-pity and accept things, move on and do my best for all my children, and for myself.

I recently wrote about some ignorant comments on disability v. death.

mommy~dearest said...

What a wonderful post! You are right. I often end up telling people, "you do what you do because this is your child, and you love them with your whole being", but I still don't think they get it.

I've never looked it as "coping", but just a part of life! It is how it is, and we know no different because it is how it is. (Erp?)

What I mean is, regardless if a child has a disability- as parents, we get on with things, look past that "horrible disability" (*shudder*), and give our children the best lives we can, just as any other parent would.

Okay- you said it much better. :)