Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Okay, this is something I feel I need to write, it is my opinion alone, how I feel about the related topics and what I read. It is not meant to offend anyone, I’m sure some people are going to criticize…but it is how I feel.
I know I’ve spoken about parents/carers, and the lack of respect and acknowledgement we receive, and I want to respond to one anonymous comment that came through to me a few weeks ago via e-mail. One mum expressed her feelings about wishing her child would pass peacefully away in his sleep, feeling that it would be better for him. She feels that she has been pushed to breaking point. She even quoted a news story from last April…which actually made my blood boil at the time.
Clare Bates (left) was in the news in April talking about how hard it was to be a carer, how pitifully we are paid and how little respect we get. Then she spoke about her own life and how there was a time when she begged her father to kill her son because it was too hard, and she felt she or he had no quality of life. I was shocked that the thought even entered her head. And what shocked me more was the amount of carers and parents who congratulated her, agreed with her and said there were many days they felt the same, many said they had days when they wished their child wouldn’t wake up in the morning.
Well this goes against every fibre of my being, my maternal instinct makes me fiercely protective of all my kids and I would never wish harm to any of my children, and who is she to say her so has no quality of life, I saw the report, he was smiling, he was happy and he was responsive to those around him.
I know what its like to be pushed to the limit by the government, the system as it were, I know what it’s like to have to spend years surviving on just 2 hours sleep a night, and to spend the days getting beaten up by my own toddler/child, have broken bones and TV’s thrown at me…but there was never a moment in all of it when I would have been without Aaron.
Imagine the guilt I would feel now, if I had felt like that, I have no guilt, no regrets, I made sure Aaron knew how loved and valued he is every minute of every day.
If that was a mum talking about an able bodied child or a child who had, for instance a few behavioural or learning difficulties, then there would have been uproar, the child would be in care, and the woman would have been condemned, not congratulated. But as her son is disabled…oh well, its not quite as important, and THIS is exactly why we have the problems we do in society, disabled people are treated as ‘lesser beings’ because of their disabilities.
Of course she hid behind the ‘you can’t imagine my life if you haven’t lived it’ line…but I have lived it, I would give everything I own to still be living it.
There was another news story recently of a mum who drowned her disabled daughter in the bath, and pleaded depression as a defence… A few years ago there was the father, who murdered his disabled son, the mum who hid her disabled son’s body in a suitcase in a shed…and recently another mother and her disabled child were found dead in a lake behind their home, the mum was known to be depressed due to caring for her child.
Now when I started this blog, I promised I’d be honest, so…when I saw that report I wanted to throw something through the TV. As much as I understand being tired, sick of fighting and whatever else it entails, I’m pretty sure that before I got to the point where I would harm my child, I would do something…anything to get some help.
There was another news story quite recently about baby P (right) and his death didn’t provoke any sympathy for the parents (as it should not), and although the cases were very different, what is it in the eyes of society made it different, was it that baby P was not a disabled child.
When a child with a disability is harmed, there are not pictures of the child all over the news and media, is it because society does not percieve the child to be as cute, as lovable??? Perhaps if children with disabilities were seen to be more essential members of society, given the respect they deserve, the support would be there for them and their families.
We are given our children as the most precious gift, regardless of their abilities, who are we to say who is and isn’t perfect. It’s the attitude that makes the disability, not the physical limitations…some of the most disabled people I know are actually able bodied.
So yes, these parents, any parent who harms a child should be punished severely, but so should the parents who hurt their disabled children.