Possible trigger here.
I read this piece of news today. Mother kills disabled child. 18 years in prison. The comments on Facebook reflect widespread outrage. Many say she should’ve got a life sentence.
I have no opinion re. the sentence. I empathize only with the child. Heinous. But would he have had a better life with this woman, resenting his existence and overwhelmed by and wrapped inside her own self-centric focus? Social services will not take away a child from the mother until there is irrefutable proof of abuse. And even then, so many times, children are returned to their abusive environments. My immediate reaction on reading this piece of news? As a person with disabilities (autism as well as other physical challenges), as a person who has witnessed first hand the utter evil of insidious subtle abuse, the kind that nobody outside of the Holy Circle of Horror would see, the kind that even if the victim were to tell about, friends and the wider society would scoff at and make light of – what were my initial reactions to this, what are my triggered thoughts whenever I read such reports?
I saw a lifetime of slow torture for any child trapped inside the swirling nebulous vortex of unwantedness – mental, emotional, and physical violence. Many other disabled children suffer this instead of death, until they manage to break free, or never in most cases of more severe disability. Dependent forever on the very persons who are torturing them.
The above was my own immediate reaction, born out of my own personal life experiences. Not everyone will see the same scene inside their intimate mindscape.
Then, there are the brave parents who persevere no matter what. They are not the conquering warriors in storybooks, they do not wield swords or sashay around clad in white linen, they are ordinary folk doing extraordinary things. The challenges are great, mistakes are made, but they valiantly soldier on, often alone and isolated from the very society that is supposed to help and support them. Raising a child is not easy, not even a ‘normal’ child. I have immense admiration and respect for these humans. And for some strange reason, I feel a deep gratitude towards them. Even though they are not my parents. I am grateful that they exist at all. To these, I say a humble, “Thank you!” Thank you for sticking to your commitment. Childbearing is a decision (in most cases), but the child concerned has had no choice in the narrative. I am grateful to these brave parents who stand by their choice even when the result falls far from their dreams and expectations, even when life can be a constant deluge of pain and frustration. And yes, I do have empathy, much more than is visible to the senses of normality, for those – parents and children, and children grown up – how have fallen and broken from the sheer immensity of the burden that human life presents.
A friend rightly pointed out that parents are human too. Yes, we all are. So are children. There is no ready answer. Just terrible sadness. At the state of humanity.