Something I’ve noticed. It happens often enough that it’s caught my attention and made me curious. Moms of kids with serious health problems start getting harassed – either directly, or indirectly. Sometimes the harassment comes in the form of people claiming that the child in question isn’t actually ill (has happened a few times with kidney kids – these kids don’t tend to look ill). Sometimes it comes in the form of people making fun of the child himself. Sometimes just in the form of people escalating already tense relationships, or starting to make derogatory comments about the parents behind their backs. Sometimes it comes from friends, or former friends, or sometimes from family. Sometimes even from other special needs parents, which is super, super sad.
It’s a phenomenon that interests me because it’s just so… pathetic? Is that the right word? I don’t think so. Is there a word that means slimy and pathetic and sad and horrible all at the same time? While also denoting that the people perpetuating such behavior deserve our pity and need mental help? That word.
I think a certain percent of these things can be attributed to just normal human relations. Well, “normal,” anyway. Some people are just incapable of genuine human behavior, and they would be causing trouble regardless of the health status of the child.
But I think a certain percent is a direct result of the child’s health situation. Either because people have never really outgrown the childhood bully’s need to pick on the kid who’s least likely or able to reciprocate, or… something even sicker.
It’s taken me a while to accept that this is an actual possibility, but I do think it’s true in some cases. It has taken numerous other moms pointing out to me that this could be the case in some situations for me to accept it, that’s how sick and twisted it is.
Is it possible that some people are jealous of very ill children? Or of their parents?
It seems impossible, doesn’t it? Who would be jealous of a family with a child fighting cancer, or who’s waiting for an organ transplant, or who has a degenerative illness? Right? It’s sick, right?
But there is a certain personality that I think is capable of that emotion, and it’s not the actual illness they’re jealous of – it’s the attention. It’s the community sympathy, the “fame” that can sometimes accompany these illnesses, the fundraising and the meals and the offers of help. There’s a tendency among some special needs moms, even, to seem like they’re jealous of other special needs families whose kids are in “worse” shape.
I feel dirty even typing this.
I always feel like I’m a little insecure about Teddy’s issues. They’re not *that* bad, I say, because even though they’re bad – it could be worse. I have two other mamas of medical needs kids who I chat with on a regular basis and we’re all so insecure about our kids, the conversations are often ripe with undeveloped humor. Each of us believes the other person’s kid is WAY worse than our own kid. I mean, I kind of feel (at least so far… liver/metabolic issue still pending) that at least Teddy’s only got ONE main problem. This means we usually see only ONE specialist and that one person is intimately familiar with most aspects of his health and care. That puts us in a far better spot than a kid with a variety of issues, seen by a variety of specialities, requiring a lot of care coordinating on the part of the parent. There’s no jealousy, there’s a lot of, you know, “but we don’t have it so bad…” or “I feel like I shouldn’t even complain about this to you” type of conversations.
I *think* that’s normal. I don’t think the jealousy thing is normal. I think it’s, all things considered, not too super common. But, if true, it’s very very very sad and I can’t even begin to understand it.