Some people can’t help but congratulate me for being the mother of my own children, and repeatedly they refer to me as a “special mom.” According to their beliefs, “God only gives special children to special parents.” Based on this logic, I would be something like a double special mom, I suppose.
The truth is that, for loving my own children, I don’t need to be special at all. If that were my opinion, I would be living under the prejudice that my children needed someone special to love them and to accept them. With that reasoning, I would be diminishing my children’s value as individuals along with their possibilities as human beings. My children are totally “loveable” and I don’t need to be special to believe they are the most beautiful children in the world. At the end of the day, they are mine and the only weird thing would be to not to love them as much as I do.
It’s true, many people don’t understand the hidden message of this saying, and they don’t realize with their words they are offering parents a consolation prize of sorts. They are trying to hand them answers, because certainly, these poor parents need more support and understanding than all the others, that are neither special, nor do they have special children.
It happens as well that as parents, many of us fall to the temptation of adopting the special title, because it’s simply natural to follow the mainstream tendency when we don’t have first-hand information. It’s natural to respond to the insistence of others and it can sometimes feel bad to refuse to wear the crown. But with the “special” crown, we accept and carry a new set of limitations, because certainly, this is not a crown that will open doors for us. Quite the opposite, it will keep them closed.
Let’s be honest, we all have been victims of our own ignorance and that’s okay. We are trying to proclaim we are perfect parents who have never made mistakes, because we all have learned from them. Having clarified this, the real problem here is not the unknown prejudice, but the choice to stick to it and deny our children their universal right to be recognized as people with no labels. Many times we are against those labels that we consider unacceptable, but we don’t realize that by accepting the ones like “special” we are hurting them all the same.
Let’s have an open-heart talk to analyze these phrases and their impact in our children’s lives:
“God only give special kids to special parents.”
Taking away the mask, this means: You need to come from outside of this world to love a person that otherwise can’t be loved. It’s not natural to love your own child when they have a disability, and that’s why, for loving them, you have to be “special”.
“God gifted you with the special role in life and for that he gave you a special child that only knows how to love you in return.”
Which means that your child is not a fully functional human being, and that based on his physical characteristics, we already know his future. Therefore, it doesn’t even make sense to make any effort. His only capability is knowing how to give love and you need to settle with that and feel blessed about it. Someone who doesn’t know your child or has seen him only for a few seconds knows better than you and can tell you what your child is able to do.
“Special kids and special families need special lives. We don’t have special teachers at this place. We are very sorry about that.”
And suddenly when this happens, the crown becomes a thorn because it’s not special anymore. The word special becomes a guillotine beheading every dream you may have had. And because you are a special mom, don’t even dare to show inappropriate emotions, such as anger or frustration, because special moms are not supposed to fight for their children – we are only grateful for what has been “given to us”. Just take your child with you and look for that special world. The only problem is that that “special” world they talk about doesn’t exist. Instead, what they will offer you is a segregated world that has nothing special in it.
Having said this, for me, every day has been Mother’s Day since the day my first child was born. With that, all mothers are special to me when they are good mothers, and it’s just not fair to not recognize our efforts can and should be as big as can be, whether our children have special needs or not. Thinking of my own mother, I can tell that she was the most special mother in the world, and I really don’t think that I deserve the title more than she.
Children are special for each of their own parents. Neither parents nor their children deserve to be, nor should be manipulated with the “special” label, because if we evaluate honestly the benefits of the word “special” compared to its limitations, we may realize that it works as a terminal tool. A label which may alleviate some symptoms, but when used frequently, might have dramatic secondary effects that may just make things worse.