When we were trying to have a baby it seemed like everywhere I went everyone else was already pregnant. The same thing happens when you get a new car. All of a sudden, everyone has one. I have the same situation now, but instead of seeing pregnant people, it's words that I hear. Words that never would have bothered me before, twist my heart. And because the word retarded has such a different meaning for me now, I hear it everywhere.
I've tried to explain, and gently remind, when I hear the r-word pass by the lips of friends and family. But, four months later I still hear it. I hear it from friends, from family and from strangers. And while I know that none of you have Claire in mind when you say it, I can't help but have my heart broken a little more each time it reaches my ears.
So, please know when I point it out, I'm speaking for my daughter, as she can't speak for herself right now. I have to protect her, and if I can educate people now, hopefully there will be fewer people using the word when she is able to understand what it means.
Please join me in pledging to Spread the Word to End the Word, and please read this post as it does a wonderful job of saying everything I haven't.
While I'm talking about words, I'd also like to mention something else that bothers me, though not nearly as much as the r-word. Claire is not a Downs baby. She is a baby who happens to have Down syndrome, and while the difference may seem petty, it really does matter. Saying someone is a Downs kid puts Down syndrome above all else, and defines that person by their disability. Claire is who she is, she's not what she HAS.
Sorry for the soapbox post today, but this is something that is really important to me, and this was just one more way to make people aware of the words they are using.