The winter issue of Brain, Child has not hit the stands yet, but subscribers must have gotten it this week (I haven’t even seen it myself, yet!). The response I’ve gotten so far to the article I wrote, titled “Love With Teeth”, has been positive and heartbreaking.
I anticipated (an am still braced for) negative messages. You don’t go around publicly expressing the feelings I did in that article and expect not to get some hate mail. It’s a cultural taboo, to talk about hate, regret, and rage when speaking of one’s children.
But so far, the emails and notes I’ve received are reminiscent of the comments I heard in the mothers’ groups I led and wrote about: parenting can sometimes be a profoundly difficult, soul-sucking enterprise. I hope that, in adding my voice to the growing number of writer-mothers who attempt to tell the truth about parenting (especially parenting high-needs children), I’ve offered some solace. There are certainly no guarantees that everything will turn out all right. Carter is far more symptomatic now than he was as an infant and toddler, the period of his life that I wrote about in the article. Life is harder and scarier in many ways than it was then. The only comfort there is for those of us living this life, with high needs, special needs, or disabled (choose your adjective) children, is the knowledge that our reactions are almost certainly normal, and that we’re not alone.
So I’ll say it again, and as often as I need to: thinking about throwing the baby through the window is not the same as doing it. That thought, in fact, seems to be nearly universal. If you came here because you’ve had, or are currently living, a similar experience, you have more sympathy than I can possibly express.