Friday, June 1, 2012

The "R" Word

Before I had Isabella I probably wouldn't have thought twice about hearing it.  I have even used it in my past - not in a degrading way but to refer to myself when I made a mistake. I have recently become more sensitive to this degrading word and I cringe when people use it around me. I have wanted to speak up, I have wanted to say something, but what? I know that most of the time people around me are not using it in a degrading way, but it still hurts.

I found this explanation that clearly explains why the word "retarded" should not be a part of anyone's vocabulary:

"When they were originally introduced, the terms “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” were medical terms with a specifically clinical connotation; however, the pejorative forms, “retard” and “retarded” have been used widely in today’s society to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, when “retard” and “retarded” are used as synonyms for “dumb” or “stupid” by people without disabilities, it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity."

So why am I posting this now? Glad you asked!! I was up at 3:30am feeding my sweet girl a bottle, and was browsing Fox News on my phone so I would stay awake. I came across an article that really disturbed me. Just the title alone "Margaret Cho: I don't want a retard baby" makes my blood boil. To read the article on Fox News Click here. After I read that article I just looked at my precious sleeping baby and cried. Cried because I am so happy she is mine. Cried because some people actually think this way and choose to abort their baby once they get a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It took me back to my 24th week of pregnancy when we received Isabella's diagnosis and a Dr. told me that 24 WEEKS was not too late for an abortion. Yes you read that correctly - 24 weeks. I cried because our society rejects what is not "perfect" and that babies just like Isabella will never be born because people DO think like this.

I am still new to Down Syndrome and new to being an advocate, but I have to do it. I have to advocate for my daughter. I want to advocate for my daughter and for others with intellectual disabilities. I am not the most outspoken person, and like I said, I have a hard time expressing my feelings and getting my point across, but I am confident that the Lord will guide me. Isabella has already been such a blessing to us in the 6 short weeks she has been here, and she has changed our lives for the better. She has opened my eyes and made me realize what is truly important in this world and in my life.

Please Join me and pledge your support to end the use of the "R" word. - , Thank you!!

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