The Set-Up for Grief
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.
Grief is considered, by many, a “normal” reaction to the birth of a child with a disability. But should it be?
At one time, grief was thought to be limited to the death of a loved one. But as our society has become increasingly influenced by the medical profession (including mental health disciplines), grief is now seen as an expected—almost routine—response to all types of naturally-occurring, ordinary human situations which are seen as “losses:” the loss of a job, a marriage, one’s youth, and so on and so on. This article won’t attempt to address these larger issues of “loss” and the accompanying “victim” status, but it will speak to the so-called grief as it relates to parents of children with disabilities.
“What do you want: a boy or a girl,” is a routine question directed to mothers- and fathers-to-be. A typical response—whether from a movie star or the neighbor next door—is something like, “It doesn’t matter, as long as the baby is healthy.” Translation: as long as the baby doesn’t have a disability. Further translation: babies with disabilities are not considered “healthy” or “normal,” thus, they are not wanted.
This sentiment is parallel with (and perhaps derived from) the medical model of disability . . . Click here to continue.