About a week ago, someone on the BabyCenter forum posted about a very common comment made in reference to a DS diagnosis. "God only gives you what you can handle." Her post was about how many times parents of kids with DS hear this and she was asking what other parents thought of the comment. I am not a person who is easily offended. While certain words, phrases, or comments may bother me, I generally tend to assume (correctly or not) that the person saying them doesn't mean them in a harmful way to me or someone else, it's just something to say. However, this particular phrase, while still not offensive to me, does somewhat bother me even more than others. I have definitely been in my fair share of situations when you really just don't know what to say, but I really have tried hard not to fall back on a cliche that really does nothing to comfort the person I'm talking to. This particular saying, I suppose, is not only meant to make the person feel better about the situation, but about themselves as well. As in, "I must somehow be viewed by other people as uniquely qualified for this situation." Well, guess what, I'm not necessarily. When we found out about Tera's diagnosis, we heard this a lot (and if you happen to be reading this and remember saying this to one of us, don't fear, we are in no way offended or angry, we understand the sentiment). However, I believe that it's just us doing what we have to do to take care of her. My husband and I made a committment to each other and especially to Tera that we would just do whatever she needed, no matter what. Now, I do not believe this is what any parent would do because there are a lot of really crappy parents out there that don't do what they're supposed to do. But I also don't believe that I am in some way deserving of this situation because I'm some sort of saint (not even close)! I truly do understand why people say it, but in all honesty, it doesn't make me feel better and it's not comforting in those moments when I wonder, "why our little girl?" I don't know that those words will come back to me when I'm wondering how I'm going to handle her therapies and appointments and just getting to spend quality time with her when both my husband and I are working. And I doubt those words will cross my mind when people start to notice her (for reasons other than her being insanely adorable) when we're out.
I think the other reason it may bother me is that it assumes that your beliefs are the same as mine. I have always considered myself a fairly spiritual person, but I stopped following and believing in organized religion a while ago. In my adult life I've come to believe more in karma than anything else. There have been periods of time, many of them, when I've wondered how so many things could be going wrong at once (in fact I'm currently experiencing it). But then inevitably something very lucky and good happens out of the blue and while it doesn't make everything all better, it makes me remember there is usually a balance to life and sometimes you just have to wait for it to happen.
So I'm not "special". I must have missed the class in college that covers how to handle having a child that you weren't necessarily expecting. I'm not unusually calm; making me better than someone else in handling all the chaos that goes along with this (in fact, I'm the EXACT opposite, so this should be interesting). But I'm not cursed. I'm not a bad person that deserved something like this, in fact, every single time I look at Tera, I think to myself, "How did we get so lucky to get this amazing, beautiful, happy, charming, sweet little girl?" It happened by chance and because of the luck of the draw of mother nature. I believe in statistics and science wholeheartedly. We will handle this not because we're special, but because that sweet little stinker deserves every chance we can give her.