Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The Science of Neurosis
Saying I had an off-kilter week is like saying Hilary Clinton is a tiny bit opinionated. Without getting into details right now, let's just say we had a few health concerns around here dealing with Stink. He's perfectly fine, rest assured (and thank God.) Here he is with one of his favorite buddies - Italian of course. Out of 125 kids in his school, all ethnicities, he gravitated to four kids with names befitting pizzarias just like his. If that doesn't make Stella proud, nothing will.
Now that I'm coming up for air, I have two things to say:
1) Science, while amazing for its advances in treating people, is also a huge scare factor. Yes, I'm glad there are tests to rule out the 1% chance that a collection of symptoms is actually a life threatening disease in disguise.
At the same time, no mother is going to hear about the 1% factor and not go to dark places. It is a test of faith and staying grounded to say the least.
2) While I might not have blogged much about my experience last week, I did talk to several mothers about it. (Because asking me to stay quiet during crisis is like asking John Travolta to not cry on a talk show. Ain't gonna happen.)
If I didn't know this before (which I thought I did, but didn't really) now I can say with undeniable certainty that EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING. I've un earthed information from mothers dealing with everything from neurological issues, muscular issues, learning disabilities, birth defects and growth concerns.
Am I saying that these are not legitimate causes of worry for parents? Absolutely, and my heart goes out to everyone dealing with their "different" child.
But that's where my beef comes in. Being "different" is really the norm. And what defines different anyway? A small facial quirk? Being a dwarf? Not pronouncing your 's'? How much of these are individual characteristics of unique people as opposed to flaws?
Science has gotten so far up our ass that we can diagnose everything these days. In the past, the kid with the huge head eventually evened out with the rest of his body. Later in life people had a laugh about how lady-killer Johnny was once lovingly referred to as Pumpkin Head. If Johnny was born today, there'd be genetic testing up the ying yang and the fear of God put in Mom that there's a 1% chance Johnny could be dying from a tumor, so let's just do monthly ultra sounds for five years so parents can die of anxiety before they are 40.
Somewhere there is a balance between medical science and scaring the shit out of everyone.
As for you mothers out there that are mourning the loss of your "perfect" child, let me stand in the camp of parents that shout that the people who think they've dodged a bullet with their perfect child are smoking the wacky weed.
No one escapes life.