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Mum Competitions

Rebecca Shayler-Adams by Rebecca Shayler-Adams Additional Needs

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

We are just a typical family muddling along our day to day lives. 4 kids, 1 with autism, 1 with an unknown neuromuscular condition

I found this statement strange, as to me parenting is unique to each child and I thought we were meant to give encouragement to other parents not bring them down as their baby’s achievements aren’t as brilliant as my child’s.

Yet I saw these parents at every group I went to, in the school playground and even in the check-out line at the supermarket.

When you mention that your baby has rolled over, their little princess had rolled at birth. When you mention that your child has said his first word, their little prince has learnt the whole dictionary.

As I entered into the world of parenting a child with disabilities, I was hopeful that this unspoken Mum competition had ended.

That 100% of us parents would be holding each other up and supporting each other.

I have found that 99.9% of parents are exactly that, I can ask for help or advice and I get non- judgemental answers.

I have had people help in all sorts of things including the best route to go up to the London hospitals, to help with how to get the most nutrients into my baby who is still 80% on purees.

I have had people state that their child doesn’t have the same thing as my baby but they will lend an emotional shoulder to cry on as being a carer and a parent is physically and mentally exhausting.

However, there is a very small minority who seems to make a competition out of having a child with disabilities.

Recently I was at a hospital appointment with my baby and a Mum came in the room, all us Mums did ‘the smile’, the smile you do when you are silently saying, “I feel you, I am with you and we are all in this together”.

What we got back however was this Mum stating how her child was more disabled than everyone in the room, that her child had to have a lot more care and attention than everyone else’s.

The comments she made, I just wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting her to come out and tell me my child’s disability isn’t really a disability because it hasn’t been diagnosed.

This unfortunately isn’t the first time I have experienced this sort of competition of whose child is more disabled.

I just do not understand this mentality. Yes some children medically are more complicated and more complex than other children I am not denying this.

As parents however, no matter how small an impact the disability has on our child, it is still massive for us.

My daughter can do a lot of things that we were told she never would be able to, yet her future is uncertain and we are preparing for the worst, however I would never say to another parent, at least your disability isn’t life limiting.

We are all on a journey of disability, we are all on a journey which we never dreamed of and we are all on a journey which realistically many of our friends haven’t been on either.

So when we find other parents on a similar journey we should be supporting them, not make them feel bad because they are upset about their child’s disability which you deem is less important than your journey.

We should offer advice, we should help and encourage, not drag a parent down and make them feel awful.


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