Labels…

They start at the moment you enter this world.

  • Boy! Girl!
  • Apgar 6. Apgar 10.
  • Big. Small.
  • Strong. Weak
  • Breastfeed. Bottle fed.

None of that seems so bad. No big names that are going to rule your world or decide who you’re going to be. Right?!?!

Well ok, if you’re in China the value of a boy is much higher than that of a girl and of course you always want a STRONG healthy baby…and who’s kidding who, of course you’re looking for that perfect Apgar 10 and well, breastfeeding is “better for the baby”…..So a STRONG BOY with an apgar score of 10, who nurses well from its mother is ideal, Right?!?!

Truth be told, any of the above would be acceptable. Loved. Cherished. Welcomed by society.

But then the labels continue…

  • Smart. Slow.
  • Beautiful. Ugly.
  • Athlete. Nerd.
  • Fit. Fat.
  • Rich. Poor.    (….I could go on for days!)

And we put big value on these labels. Kids are bullied. People are passed over for jobs. Society gossips, whispers and judges. Look at any of the tabloids every week. Our ‘judgement’ is all over the covers. But what gives us the right? Because it’s not the ‘norm’?  Some pretty ‘normal’ people have done some pretty horrible things in our world. Hitler was considered a normal child. I’m sure Jeffrey Dahmer was the baby his father hoped for but that ‘perfect’ label didn’t last long.

 

So let’s take a baby who is a good size, strong, nurses well and is thriving. Didn’t score perfect on the Apgar but after a couple of days is picture perfect…

Now, what if you added Down Syndrome or Autism as a label to this child?  He or she is healthy. Nothing is wrong. A typical child.

Does his/her value instantly become less?

As a parent, you always hope for the ‘perfect, healthy child’ – I guess my question now is how did ‘PERFECT’ become ‘THE SAME’ as everyone else? I look at my daughter today and wonder why was I so devastated when we learn she has Down Syndrome? She’s perfect the way she is. Why would I want her any different? Why did I believe like the greater society that her value is less because of that label?!

I recently learned about Carly, a young girl with Autism, who’s helping to change the face of her ‘Label’. Anyone looking at her would assume she has nothing to contribute to society. That she can’t think for herself. That she has no intelligence. They would think this because of her label and her outward appearance. They would think this and they would be very wrong!

Carly is very smart. She is very capable and she is finding a way to give society a rare glimpse into the body, feelings and senses of an individual with Autism. She is telling the world that just because she has this LABEL and experiences our world differently than the majority, doesn’t make her wrong. Doesn’t make her value less. In fact I believe it makes her that much more valuable!  Just like Amiera.

So who exactly is putting the value on these labels? And, how do we change it?

I sometimes wonder if, in all our intelligence, we’ve missed the point of these wonderful individuals and their labels. I believe, somewhere, there’s a higher presence trying to show us we aren’t the superior beings we believe ourselves to be. We have flaws and if we look at these angels for their value, they can show us a better way to see the world.

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About Jen Black

Jennifer is a stay at home mom of three raising her family with her "agvocating" husband on a farm in Huron County, Ontario. She is a designer, photographer, Social Media junkie and blogger. Her former life included advertising, marketing, and life in the big city. You can follow her on twitter @jennileeblack

Posted on April 12, 2011, in Down Syndrome, Just my thoughts, My Ladybug and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Good writing Jennifer. As an answer to this, I think you just have to keep faith that someday the people who do understand why is it so great to be “imperfect” will out number the ones who think perfect is only skin deep and the ones that genuinely care the most to make this world a lot easier for the ones that are suffering will rule.

  2. I’m so glad you started blogging. You’re awesome.

  3. Well written. I am so proud of you.

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