I think I’m a bit of a hypocrite

December 24, 2011 at 06:03

Mama Lewis

7

Ever since I started writing on Mama Lewis, I’ve begged people to treat me no different because I am the parent of a disabled child. It hasn’t worked. I didn’t expect it would, but I tried anyway. There are still people who write in to me on a regular basis who I’m sure do it because they feel it is a public service. And, of course, there are very few people who write in to tell me they are insulted or horrified by anything I say.

Either everything I write, all my opinions – even all my photos – are wonderful, or people feel too uncomfortable to tell me that what they really think. My family doesn’t have the same reserve, so I am well aware that I can be offensive and disagreeable. And, frankly that’s how I like it. This blog is not a fishing expedition. I wish more people would tell me what they think. I find criticism far more useful, than flowery pity.

So, here’s the hypocrite bit.

The other week I wrote a post called Santa’s recruiting cute toddlers on BabyCenter where I showcased a family holiday video from The Sphors are Multiplying family blog. To be honest, though I didn’t say so in the post, I found it nauseating. However, I also thought it would appeal to BabyCenter readers. The post didn’t do too well. I blame myself and the manner I showcased it, not the video itself.

Usually, I read up in detail on anything I post. If it is a news story, I read the research that underpins it. Or, if it is the personal story of a family, I read their web site first. Like in this case, expect in this case I didn’t.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, this is the point where you should before you read any further.

If I had, I would have read that the toddler in the video is this family’s second child. Their first daughter, Maddie, was born prematurely and then, a year and a half later, died from a severe respiratory infection.

When I read that, I felt terrible. I realized that, viewed in that light, their video no longer appeared sacchrine to me. I can understand the desire to scream out to the masses that a healthy, happy child is a cause to celebrate every day. I can understand every impulse to do so in the loudest and silliest of manners. I can understand because that is exactly how I feel about Ieuan.

Even though I didn’t write a negative piece, I didn’t write it with any consideration to the context and I felt awful. I wondered if I should apologize, rewrite it – I spent a couple of days wondering what to do. Me. The same person that wants her readers to treat her no differently.

I decided the best thing was to change nothing. On my blog, I ask people to take me at my word and understand that I am more than how May’s disabilities have shaped me. Either I accept that some people will not appreciate my work – whether it is offensive, or saccharine – or I cater to people’s desire to pity me.

I can’t help but see the video differently when I know the context. I certainly appreciate it more. But, I can’t say I love it. I still can’t get that song out of my head.

What about you? Did you feel differently about the video after you read the back story?

7 Comments

  1. Wendy December 24, 2011 Reply

    I agreed with you. I didn't find your piece awful and to be honest didn't change my view once I knew about them losing their first child.

    I too have a child with special needs but I think if you do these types of videos you're that type of person anyway, regardless of losing a child or having a child with sn.

    Personally I thought her voice grated in my ears. Lol but each to their own, whatever floats her boat! :0)

  2. Paul Saxton December 24, 2011 Reply

    Well, you know, it is what it is. I quite liked it and would have done had I not been aware of the background. Families do all sorts of cheesy, 'cute' things at Christmas and I think at this time of year they're allowed a free pass.

    Good on the mum as well for coming up with, and singing, the song. Its message - beyond the I'm An Elf stuff - is: "Our daughter's going to have a fabulous Christmas." Good for them.

  3. Natalie from Calgary December 24, 2011 Reply

    Maybe now people will insult you as a way to make 'the mother of a disabled child feel better';)

  4. Aunt Carrie December 25, 2011 Reply

    No I don't feel different. To her parents this was a precious video. Just as my video of Caylee rolling her eyes and sticking her tongue out at her ballet recital was precious to me. Many other parents might of been very annoyed that happened in the video they were sharing with their families. Horrible life changing things happen to everyone. They were lucky enough to have another child so i am sure they feel very blessed. Yes it is sad to loose a child and I am not down playing that, but the current video has nothing to do with the child they lost. Don't feel bad if anything you brought light for others to enjoy the video this Mother posted.

  5. Anna December 27, 2011 Reply

    I think you've answered your own question (which I suppose is the point of your post). You felt bad because you didn't want to be insensitive in any way. Similarly, if I don't like something you write, I'm not going to post and tell you, because why would you need my negativity? I feel like this about blogs in general, I very rarely post a negative comment, only if I find something actively offensive. It's your blog, your life, you write what you want to. (Though if it would make you happy, I hereby undertake to offer at least two (2) nitpicking disagreeable comments, to help you feel you don't have it all your own way...).

  6. katrina December 20, 2012 Reply

    I've written to you once on twitter about May and your Love for her. I must say that I'm hooked on May. Sometimes somethings can be offensive but in motherhood we all have offensive ideas, thoughts and verbalization of them in some way. I find myself more drawn to people who are honest about the way they feel and how they feel. I read Betsy shaw on baby center and as well as her own personal blog. By far Betsy and you are both inspiration for not filtering too much on any of it. I do not think when reading the entries god that woman is offensive. I, instead, think my god this woman is real just like me.

    • Mama Lewis December 20, 2012 Reply

      I love reading Betsy's posts as well, on her own blog too. I'm a big fan of hers and that kind of writing is what I aim for - so thank you!

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