Wednesday, May 26, 2010


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.


  1. Thanks so much for this post!!

  2. I could not agree more. People first always!

  3. Completely agree! If we focus on the positive and the immense potential, then Claire will learn to do the same as she gets older. If you create the garden, fertilize the soil, water as necessary, you never know what will grow - probably a beautiful flower!

  4. First of all I love your new header!

    I caught myself the other day saying it. I was talking about an inanimate object, but it was like a 'doh! moment for me.

    I know Clair's surgery is coming up, so if you need anything, let me know. I'm glad I haven't dealt with any major heart issues with Jesenia, but my oldest, Julian, had heart surgery when he was 10 days old.

  5. Hi Melissa...Thinking of you and Claire! May I come visit when you are in the hospital again??

    Love & prayers,

    Barb H.

  6. Great post and well said. It's too bad the R word blog you refer to calls himself a downs dad. Even my MIL still says John Michael is "my little Down syndrome grandson". Bugs me to no end and my 10 yr old has gently corrected her, but habits are hard to break. I think it's all about the intent. She truly means no harm and I have to forgive her. You're already a great advocate for Claire. :-)


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