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They Swim! And Thoughts about What People Put Their Children Through

June 25, 2010

Proving that, indeed, two groups at opposite ends from each other can peacefully coexist, the fish that now swim  in the pond (eggs not killed by over-chlorinated water, apparently, in case you’d missed that update) outnumber the frogs. Well, truthfully, the frogs scatter when I walk out to the pond, so it’s hard to get an accurate count, but I’m pretty sure I now have more fish than I did before I killed all the big ones (so, I guess I ought to be glad that I did, because can you imagine how many fish that would have been? Over six dozen easy.)

At any rate, the pond is teeming with life. The garden is in its midseason changeover of blooms, the hollyhocks all but finished, the bachelor’s buttons done and mostly harvested, the rudbeckias in full bloom and the zinnias beginning their growth spurt. There’s lots of work to be done in the garden to keep it looking its best, but it’s good work. It feeds and soothes the soul.

Perhaps if those parents whose hearts and minds are filled with anger, blame, and the need to lash out had something that fed their soul, they’d let go of some of the woo? Perhaps if they quit feeding their rage against the world that played them a hand they weren’t ready to be dealt and found the joy in their child’s smile, the good moments that are there for the picking, they’d be able to breathe deep enough to think through their illogic? I don’t know. What I do know is that there are people who deal with tremendous adversity and do it with grace and joy. And there are those who are dealt piddling blows and lash out with a rage and a hate that are out of proportion. I don’t know where we draw the line on this; I don’t. Do the parents who put their children through hell and back deserve our empathy and compassion or our condemnation? Both?

Without doubt, it is the children who suffer. Suffer through dangerous and unneeded treatments, suffer through their parents’ rages (don’t tell me their vitriol doesn’t reach beyond what they write on the internet), suffer through their parents’ disappointment in them as damaged-goods.

Putting mining chelators on your children’s foods is not okay. Putting nicotine patches on them is not okay. Giving them laxatives and enemas on a regular (to include daily) to make it easier to put chelation suppositories in their rectums is not okay. Chelating month after month, year after year is not okay. Choosing homeopathy, naturopathy, and other forms of woo over therapies like speech, OT, PT, and cognitive behavioral therapy is not okay.

Loving your children so deeply, so completely that you want to do everything you can to help them live successful, independent lives is understandable and commendable, but when you put your needs, your wants, your desires and go with your guts and your emotions over a deliberate, rational, reasoned out approach to what is safe, reliable, and valid to help your child, you’ve failed in your duty as a parent to your children.

What we put in their bodies matters, what we say to them, say around them, think of them matters. We are none of us perfect. We all make mistakes. But when we refuse to acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, and fail to put our children’s well-being in front our own, then we fail in our most important duty in our lives: to safeguard and protect our children.

Parents who got their children vaccinated were carrying out that duty. Where they failed is when they believed Jenny McCarthy over statistical evidence for their child’s autism. When we stay mired in the whatifs and couldabeens instead of focused on the present and what we have now, we fail our children.

In the end, it doesn’t matter why your child is autistic. What matters is now and what you do now. Do you work to help them based on your reason and commitment to them? Do you celebrate who they are as they are? Or do you bemoan the child taken from you? Do you honor their integrity, their right to have safe, informed decisions for their medical treatment or do you really buy a guy who is selling you a mining chelator or a chemical castration treatment? Or endless colonoscopies because even if there are no gastro symptoms and no reason to suspect a problem, he insists that autism is autistic enterocolitis and requires invasive, potentially dangerous procedures just to look?

If these parents breathed deeply for a moment, if they stopped railing at the world, if they stopped thinking they were entitled to explicitly detailed answers as to the whys, would it make a difference? Would it?

If they stopped to smell the roses, would it ease their pain, their anger, or would they swipe at the beauty in a rage that it existed?


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