Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Club

The club that nobody wants to join is happy to have you!

These were the words I heard from the kind ones. The ones who were about to become my family - but I didn't know it yet. I was still resistant. These were the words I turned to when it became clear that there were many unkind words waiting for me.

"Did you have an easy pregnancy?" Suddenly translated into what was unspoken: "I wonder what she did - I wonder when things when wrong - I am so glad that my child is fine because I ate an all organic diet, drank six glasses of water each day, and never touched a glass of wine."

Because, even if we just have to guess what questions are behind the unkind judgments, what does it matter? It is a judgment, and it has been passed.

You may choose to defend yourself, you may walk away in disbelief, you may feel volcanic anger welling up inside you, you may surprise yourself by finding yourself wishing to put your fist down someone's throat.

Soon, you will become adept at spotting them before they attack: The Unkind are lurking everywhere. And you will also gain the equally useful skill of finding The Kind Ones. The ones from whom you first turned away - they do not hold it against you, because they remember.

They remember the resistance that comes before the acceptance. And they want you. Not because, as you first tell yourself, misery loves company. But because they truly understand and they truly care for you.

They show you compassion that you have never experienced before joining this club, and you begin to wonder how it is that all of these compassionate people who are holding you up, are the parents of special children.

You realize that this is where the compassion in the world lies. You are impressed to be in such company. And then you realize, you too are a special parent of a special child.

Maybe you are deserving of this compassion more than the judgment.

When you accept this, then you, yourself become one of those admirably compassionate people.

And thus ends your initiation process into the club.

Welcome aboard.

4 comments:

  1. We adopted my son and the question always arises as to whether his birthmother took drugs or used alcohol during the pregnancy. (She didn't -- he was born on time and a very healthy weight to prove it.) I don't know why I always feel somewhat offended at that comment. They're not even talking about me! I can only imagine how much more insulted I would feel if the docs were asking me what I was up to during my pregnancy.

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  2. You know, I think those questions have more to do with the fears of the person asking them than any sort of judgment. If they can get a good explanation, a tangible reason for these things, then they won't have to worry so much about it happening to them. The truth is, it can happen to anyone...and we're all lucky to find the support of communities like this.

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  3. What a wonderful welcome, Gwen. The Club is one that I truly didn't want any part of. Now my membership is one of the most treasured things of my life.

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