The BlogHer post was also written as a reaction to an Age of Autism bitter, rage-filled account of what a parent considers autism to have done to her daughter, and her own life. The parent wrote,
"[My daughter] is dead. That [girl] is dead, and I don’t care if people hate me for saying that because that’s how I feel and that’s how I will always feel and there is no closure and there is no comfort just because she can talk now."The empathetic BlogHer part of me first cheered for the daughter who can talk now, then wanted to hug the mom in so much pain. I want that mom to meet people from parenting communities like mine, so she can observe real people who have carefully maintained their and their children's dignity, even though like her they have parented through situations most people won't willingly contemplate -- including having their children with special needs actually die. That mom needs to hear from, learn from parents who believe in sanity-saving catharsis between friends, but who remain otherwised focused on loving, respecting, and helping their children. Let's cross our fingers that she soon finds the hope and compassion she so needs to change her attitude and let herself love her daughter.
The lioness-mom part of me -- the one who writes here in my personal blog -- was disgusted by the post, and also at Age of Autism for further corroding that mom's soul and undermining her emotional stability by publishing such child-abusing vitriol as "honesty." How DARE such people call themselves autism advocates, sell themselves as helping our children! Who and how exactly is that hatred supposed to help?
By publishing a post in which a parent declares their autistic child to be dead to them, Age of Autism has disrespected our children and indeed anyone with autism to the ultimate degree. They have outed themselves as the Vampires of Despair, whose only interests are bleeding the autism community to sustain themselves, and luring converts to their distasteful mindset by whatever tactics necessary. This is exactly the kind of cultivated nastiness recently decried by Orac at Respectful Insolence, who writes of such attitudes:
"It is a view of autistic children that dehumanizes them. They are portrayed as "toxic," "damaged," poisoned," and "lost," among other things, with stories of the "light going out of their eyes" after a vaccination."The Age of Autism author -- who received kudos galore from parents only too glad to spew additional negativity about the children who depend on them -- says she doesn't care if people hate her for saying that she considers her daughter to be dead. I wonder if she realizes that those haters may include her own two typical children, who will likely one day read what their mother has written about their sister; and her daughter with autism, since people with autism are often more aware of what is going on around them than their communication skills reveal. What if that not-dead girl eventually reads what her mother wrote about her? (Though I hope it never happens; I hope AoA pulls a Generation Rescue and scrubs the offending material off their site.)
Reading the My Daughter is Dead post made me wish that parenting came with a legal vow, or an Unbreakable one, based on a common marriage vow:
Do you, [parent], promise to love, respect, and protect [this child], in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?I consider this vow to be implicit, a reminder that as in marriage, no one can anticipate the joys or challenges parenting will bring, or guarantee perfection. The parent who wrote the Age of Autism article needs to disengage from the vampires, find a more positive community, revisit her parenting priorities, and remember that protecting one's children includes protecting them from the worst of one's self.