Debbie Downer

Have you ever been in a group setting and felt like a total Debbie Downer? You know, the Saturday Night Live character who always talks about natural disasters and deadly diseases bringing everyone down and halting all conversation?

Well I have. Shortly after my daughter’s diagnosis I was invited by a friend to one of those parties where they sell you candles or kitchen appliances. The room was full of moms discussing their children. I made the mistake of bringing up J’s prognosis. I found myself in an uncomfortable silence. I likely caught the other ladies off guard, but at the time I was hurt.

Shortly after that I found myself lying about my daughter’s abilities. A woman I didn’t know, in a store or somewhere asked about my daughter’s age. She responded with “I bet she’s walking everywhere.” I said “she sure is.” I felt awful. But at the moment I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t want her pity or her shocked silence, so I lied. I can’t believe I lied. How will anyone learn about our children unless we educate them. On that day I missed my opportunity because of my thin shell.

Have any of you found yourselves doing the same thing? When do you share with others and when do you keep to yourself? I’m still navigating the social aspect of having a child with special needs. As she gets older and more self aware I never want her to feel ashamed or to hide who she is. I never want her to hear me deny who she is. The Lord continues to use J to teach me and mold me into the parent and advocate He wants me to be.

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