It could be worse. This is a topic that has come up on my blog, as well as in various other forums that I am a part of, several times in the past three years. How does a micropreemie mom react when their acquaintances or even friends are complaining about their full term healthy kids? They're not walking at 14 months. They're not talking in sentences at 2. They're picky eaters. They won't sleep through the night. Moms of twins complain about how much work their two normally developing kids are. Pregnant moms complain about how uncomfortable they are at 36 weeks, and they wish this baby would "just come already."
How should moms of kids with more severe disabilities react when they are barraged with the worries of other preemie moms worrying that their baby might have CP, when they are already holding their head up at 6 months? Or stressing out to the point of their hair falling out over a language delay at 15 months?
It's all a matter of perspective. I admit to having lost the ability to relate and be empathetic in certain situations, and I am sure that I have snapped, or said something that I probably shouldn't have more than once. More than once I have been guilty of at least thinking "stop whining," or "get over it," or "what in the world do you have to complain about," or "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS AND STOP WASTING SO MUCH ENERGY ON SOMETHING SO INSIGNIFICANT!!!" Most of the time I am able to bite my tongue and remind myself that their feelings are valid for their life and their situation. And they are. It's NORMAL for people to worry about their kids, even the little things. Had I not been thrown into the life that I have now, I would most certainly been one of those moms. I can be forgiving.
At the same time, I feel that people in general should be considerate of their audience. I have an analogy that I think most women can relate to... You see, almost every woman has some complaint about their body. They think they are too fat, their nose is too big, their belly pooches out too much, their boobs are too small, their hips are too round, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. But it would be rude and inconsiderate for a woman of average or below weight to show up at a support group for obesity, and complain about being fat. It may be very real and true to her. She may be miserable and unhappy about her weight or her body and it may affect her life to a great extent. But it is still rude and inconsiderate of the audience. How should the women in the group react? Should they try to be empathetic and supportive of the skinny woman's feelings? Or should they put her in her place, and give her some perspective?
I wouldn't join a support group for moms of kids with CP, then moan about my child not walking until they are 18 months old. They have children who will never walk. I wouldn't talk to a mom who lost a twin about how hard it is having two. She would do anything to be in my shoes. I wouldn't complain to a preemie mom about how miserable my third trimester has been, and how uncomfortable it is to be 8 months pregnant. Really, it will just make her want to stab you in the eye!
Blogs are an interesting thing. When you are writing on a blog, you don't have the ability to really know and choose your audience. I think, on your blog, you can moan and groan about anything you want. That's what it is for. Your audience chooses you, and most of the time they do so because you write about something they can relate to, at least on some level.
I moan about things on my blog that I just wouldn't in other places. I don't complain about Holland being hospitalized with every little cold to someone who's child has cancer. I try not to complain too much about the severity of Eden's CP with someone whose child has severe quadriplegia, or impaired cognitive ability, or is nonverbal. I wouldn't complain about Holland having to wear her patch, or glasses, with someone whose child is blind. And I try not to complain too much about what terrible eaters my kids are directly to someone whose child does not eat by mouth at all.
At the same time, I don't want to lose perspective to the point that my friends can't talk to me just like they would any other friend. There will just have to be some give and take, by myself and by the people I encounter who know my story. I will try to remember that your feelings and worries about your healthy full-term kids are valid and very real to you. But you should also be considerate of your audience and not go on and on about how your kid who is in the 95th percentile for weight is a picky eater! At least use a disclaimer, such as "I can't imagine what you are feeling, because I feel so incredibly worried about my 35 weeker spending 5 days in the NICU."
It could always be worse. I need to remember that too. I am so blessed in so many ways. Eden is learning to talk. She has good use of her hands. She seems to be pretty bright in terms of cognitive ability. Holland is falling less, and is starting to run a little more smoothly. She can do a somersault. They are both improving in their eating. They both interact so well, and are interested in so much, and are cheerful and friendly and very happy most of the time! I am so very lucky. But you know what, even if they could do none of these things, I would still be lucky. Someone else will always have it worse, and even they might still be lucky in so many other ways. It could always be worse. But maybe it could be better too. Our feelings are all valid and need to be shared. Let's all keep it in perspective.
Holland's turn to take a picture...
Now it's Eden's turn...
Notice the different personalities? LOL.