This story resonated with me on lots of levels because I have a background supporting people with learning disabilities and have a son with autism. Let’s educate people who are ignorant of the joys of knowing children and adults with disabilities and show them that our world would be a sadder place without them. Maybe this mother’s (she has twin boys who have Down Syndrom) reaction wasn’t the best, but I know how she feels 🙂
This morning, we went to the local Homestart playgroup in town – a group that the boys adore. We had a fantastic time and when we left to head home, the sun was shining and everyone around seemed in good spirits as the sunshine boosted their endorphins. We were almost back at the car when a woman looked into our pram and said:
Me: “yes, identical twins” (with a tone that said OBVIOUSLY!)
Lady: “are they your only children?”
Me: “yes, we planned two and got them in one go (I declared proudly, with a chuckle)
Lady: “what a shame”.
Me: “Pardon? What’s a shame?” I knew where it was going.
Lady: “That you got two Down’s boys”
We’ve had similar comments recently. In fact, we’ve had similar comments all throughout their lives. During one shopping trip last week we received comments of “did you know you were having twins like THAT?” and “I’ve never seen twins like THAT” whilst pointing. Charming. After mentally counting to ten, I usually respond with an educational rant however not today. Not today. Not on a day where we’ve had a fantastic time, are all in good spirits, the sun is shining and an ignorant dementor (yes, I’m a Harry Potter geek) comes over especially to show pity on us. I assessed all of the options in my head – just calmly educate, shout, swear and didn’t really arrive at a decision before my mouth started on my behalf.
I informed her that it wasn’t a shame at all – that the boys were having a good life and so were we. She showed no signs of remorse or understanding at all and just continued with her sideways ‘aw’ pity-filled head tilt. So then it happened. Something that in two years has never happened. My mouth spouted out “don’t you dare show me pity, you ignorant cow”. And with that, I walked off.