Mommy’s Crusade

So today I went to the store with Emmy. It was one of her first outings in awhile because she was sick last week. Anyway, when we arrived at the store there was a lady there from church. She asked me some casual questions about Emmy and then of course if Emmy was walking yet. I told her the exciting news…that Emmy can walk about 3 or 4 steps in her new braces and is starting to push up off the group (like tripod pose). Then the lady asked “and how old is she?” I replied that she is 20 months and told her that we were working with the physical therapist. She said that her granddaughter was doing the same thing. So I said “then you know what it is like”.

She then proceeded to tell me that her granddaughter’s difficulties were because her daughter-in-law was just not good at stimulating her children and if she was more motherly her daughter would be walking. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She also said that her daughter-in-law had low amniotic fluid when she was pregnant and a difficult birth and that she uses that as a crutch to justify the fact that her daughter can’t walk. Then she went on to say that her grandson had speech delays because her daughter-in-law was not nurturing enough. THEN she went on to say something about autism being linked with unmotherliness. After I waked away I was so upset it took me 10 minutes to remember what I even needed at the store in the first place! (It was Pedialyte and bananas, by the way.)

SO, I decided I would use my blog as a soapbox against this kind of thinking. I hope she didn’t think the same things about me. I don’t know her daughter-in-law but I feel really sad for her that her mother-in-law would say those things. I’m sure she is going through enough without her family pointing fingers. I know some of the people who read this blog also have children, like Emmy, who are struggling with different things like reading, walking, eating, talking, etc. And I know that you are all devoted to helping your children grow and learn. I just think that it is impossible to know a situation unless you are in it and sometimes while it seems easier to blame someone when something is not perfect…many situations just happen and it’s not because of lacking parents.

It’s easy to think that A+B=C but that’s just not always the case. A ton of parents don’t do A and B and still get C. And some of us are doing A and B every day and just pray that C will happen for our children. We just have to remember that no two kids are alike. They all have their own timeframes and strengths. I wish I had enough courage to say something to this lady today but I didn’t want to step in on her family stuff. So instead, I am asking anyone who reads this to help spread the word that autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and so on are all REAL things and that they are NOT triggered by bad parenting! So while some people may see Emmy as being disabled I think she is a miracle! Given her traumatic start things could have been so much harder for her but she is so smart and funny and I know in time she will walk. She is the happiest kid I know! And here is a picture to prove all of that! 🙂 (I will now step down from the soapbox and return to our regularly scheduled program)

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6 thoughts on “Mommy’s Crusade

  1. Oh my gosh, Julia. That is RIDICULOUS what that lady said!!! Oh man, I am FUMING reading that! How did you make it through the whole conversation with her?? If it were me, I would *like* to say I would have really given it to her … but more likely I would have just bawled the rest of the afternoon. 🙁

    How terrible for her daughter-in-law, how hard on you to be taken on a guilt-trip. (Even if she does have these opinions, as misguided as they may be, WHY does she feel the need to say that, anyway?? Hellooooooo!)

    Okay. First off, you are SUCH a good mom to Emmy. I have seen it! She loves you, she loves her daddy. You are always sweet with her and encouraging her and just plain loving her. You guide her to make good choices and to be happy. Everything you do is for your little girl — I mean, even your shopping list is all about Emmy!

    And YES, she is a very happy girl! She is so bright and smiley. (Has that lady not SEEN your child?? Or maybe she’s never had the pleasure of walking in to your apartment and seeing her face light up in recognition of seeing her aunt and cousins … okay, and GRANDMA. We all know she LOVES Grandma. 😉 ) She is smart. She communicates really, really well. She is so sociable and engaging. And remembering all that went on with her birth, I agree that she is a miracle! (She would be no matter what!)

    And so much of her positive growth is because of your hard work and perseverance. How could it be that children with disabilities are poor parents?? (Okay, sounds weird to say that, because I have never thought of Emmy as “disabled,” just as “Emmy” — but generally speaking, here). That makes ZERO sense. It takes more strength and endurance to be a parent to the child who needs more help. Duh!!

    Okay, still fuming with incredulity here, but I will try to calm down, ’cause this is your soapbox. 😉 Still, I wish I could give you a big hug (and go punch that lady in the nose). (Do I know who this is? Wait, don’t answer that; it’s best I don’t know.)

    Oh. And one more thing — obviously this lady was once a mother to small children if she has grandchildren now … but does she not realize the guilt-trap we mothers go through? The second-guessing? We should all be supporting each other, not passing judgment!! UGH!!!!

    Okay, on a lighter note — hey, I LOVE the pictures. Her on the phone is adorable!! And I love that she’s just “kickin’ it” on that chair. 🙂

  2. That is ridiculous. All I can attribute it to is ignorance. She probably was never in that situation herself and doesn’t know any better, although, since she has grandchildren in that situation, she really OUGHT to know better. It probably would have done her some good for you to give her a little lesson:), but I know how you feel, I wouldn’t have been able to do it either.

    Emmy’s pictures are very cute!

  3. p.s. I never looked at Emmy as disabled either. I don’t think she falls into that category because she is learning to walk, just a little later. It’s just a developmental delay that she will surpass with time.

  4. Amen Julia! You guys are wonderful parents and do so good with Emmy. I hope nobody even comes close to thinking that you guys are to be blamed in any way for Emmy’s difficulties in walking. Emmy is a very happy child! Travis wasn’t walking very well until 17-18 months of age. You really don’t know the situation unless you’re the parent. Our two boys are so different in many ways that it’s can’t be because we parent them differently. Each kid is very unique and all have their own challenges independent of their parents, though some parents can make create extra difficulties obviously. Hopefully this person in the ward never reads your blog, other the other hand maybe it’d be a good thing!

  5. Hey Julia! I found your blog when I was looking at Angela’s. I’m glad that you’re blogging too. I can’t believe how much Emmy has changed since August! What a cutie! She looks so much more grown up. (And by the way, my little sis didn’t walk until she was 2 1/2. All kids just develop differently, I guess. I think you’re a great mom! ) I’m so excited to be your neighbor soon! I’ve missed you.

  6. So, we had the Cordells over for FHE and they had us look at Kasey’s blog to see Carson and low and behold – she has a link to you!

    Since I pretty much want to be like the Layman’s when I grow up (much like some girls wanted to be Princess Diana) I was overly happy to have this glimpse into your life!

    We adore Emmy and Rachel has her laugh on her phone for a ring tone. And YEAH!!! She is starting to walk! That is soooo great! Snaps to her!

    I am occasionally amazed by the ignorant babblings of some people. This was one of the better ones. Her POOR daughter-in-law! I hope that they live FAR FAR away from her!

    You are amazing! Our blog is private, but if you want an invite, just fire me off an email (or have Emmy do it, she looks like she is more computer literate than I am).

    Love, Tifani Sant

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