Now that I have your attention, hear me out…
This entry is not for those caring friends and family, who share my questions and armor themselves for my battles. It’s not for the sweet inquisitive faces who wonder why there are little intermittent flashing lights behind the girls’ ears. It’s not intended to offend, but rather to challenge; not to point fingers, but rather shed perspective. It’s the voice behind the many thought clouds, silenced by the need to please and concerns about offence, of many fellow parents on similar journeys. It’s the benefit of the doubt, that hopes you might care when my fellow warriors, parents journeying uniquely, think it’s not worth the effort to try to explain.
This blog is a splash of my raw, uncensored thoughts, the product of reckless, unapologetic judgment. Something parents of deaf kids know all too well.
To the lady in blue, who thought it your place to inform me that placing my kids in a school for the deaf would be a “negligent decision,” which would “isolate them from the rest of the world.” Have you considered what my options are? My girls had no language and uncertain access to sound, and you had insisted that I must just persevere in an exclusively oral environment. Have you considered that this may actually be disabling to them? I’m not a bad mom…I’m a mom that will push beyond the voices of disapproval to find the best fit for my children. You disapprove? Oh, shut the #*@% up!
To the Sunday school teacher who humbly volunteered to pray for my girls’ healing. Can you not see beyond their “disability”? Have you missed a few fundamental facts about Grace? The God I know doesn’t see them as defective, He made them extraordinary. Respectfully, shut the #*@% up!
To the colleague who doesn’t even let me complete my sentence explaining my beautiful three, but butts in with a patronizing, “Why haven’t you implanted them all?” and “Phew, what happened with your genetics?” How would you like me to answer you? Would a, “Yes, good point! Your Cognitive Excellence, I hadn’t thought of a CI?” Would you have even though of screening my low risk newborns? Nope! Any idea of what it costs? What was your ENT rotation results? Oh wait, I forgot! The grand total of your ENT experience was a whole 2 weeks in 6 years! And yes, my 2 weeks were also mostly spent removing wax from ears. No, you are not an expert, so just shut the #*@% up!
To the lady at the hat stall at the farmer’s market. Your, “Are ALL your children dumb?” question, nearly brought my husband to tears. In your defense, you are just an ignorant woman, way out of touch of what is, and is not, acceptable. Let’s think…mmm, you might be hearing, but based your not-so-bright choice of words, who’s the dumb one? Maybe next time you see a child with special needs, just shut the #*@% up!
To the hearing aid rep, who knows I collectively have 16 years of experience in raising deaf kids. Your persistent questioning of my choices, as if I am making perpetual mistakes…you may know more than me about hearing aid programs and settings, but have you spent one day with a deaf kid? Based on your expectation of them to lip read you when you ask them questions whilst you have their profound hearing level audiogram before you, I though not! How about learning a little sign language? (Seems bizarre that I need to suggest this since you are an audiologist.) You are an expert of audiograms, not deaf kids. Parents shed blood, sweat and tears over decisions, so really, shut the #*@% up!
To those people who introduce my kids as children with “hearing problems,” please don’t be offended, if I correct you mid-sentence. They don’t have a “problem” they have a “difference,” they are deaf. (You don’t need to stutter over this word). I get that this probably comes merely out of not knowing better, but sincerely, rather than making a statement that emphasizes disability, choose to shut the #*@% up.
To the professional that just cannot fathom why I would be completely contented with bilingualism. Offering me all sorts of solutions to save us from “needing to sign” whilst feeding me false information about the “dangers and consequences of signing.” Now imagine this in sign: “shut the #*@% up!”
To the nurse who I thought was compassionate. When you suggested that my husband and I must have really done something to anger God, to deserve this awful “fate” of producing deaf children. Good thing I didn’t believe you. Scarred hands prove the contrary. Instead of vomiting out lies and judgment, rather shut the #*@% up!
To the Sunday school teachers, colleagues, stall owners, hearing aid reps, audiologists, school teachers, professionals, nurses, friends and family who think before they speak, who take up their shields with us, celebrate with us and share in our struggles, thank you! Please be another voice to those less discerning. Encourage them to simply, shut the #*@% up!