I am feeling a bit good about my writing today as I just had one of my comments highlighted at the New York Times online. I can't honestly say that I am completely proud of my piece, seeing as it borderlines on abusive hateful language, but what I had to say came out the way it did and I really wanted to honour it.
So, first, this New York Times Sunday Magazine story is called Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind? written by Susan Dominus. It features a local British Columbia family who are together raising conjoined twins born about the time my youngest son was born.
The hate-filled comments, some masquerading as concern for these pre-school girls adjoined at the head, suggest with disdain that the very young mother should have aborted. This did not take me by surprise so much as shook me to my core. After all, who says who is normal and who lives a life worth living? I am a pro-choice woman, so it is not that. I am not going to parade out all of the geniuses who, in today's environment may have been aborted because, well, we're all pretty much aware that genius comes with its own parameters.
But I want to point out the people in our own communities who live their lives as if they were normal and truly, I ask, how are these girls' lives less normal than the woman who allows a man to beat her (should she have been aborted at birth?) or the man who's returned from war with less ability, should we have left him on the battlefield? The issue is this: If we cannot allow for imperfect infants to enter the world and live their life, whatever life that is, how will there be room for those who are injured later to exist? At what cost perfection?
As a case in point I want to highlight a childhood friend of mine. Her parents were told in no uncertain terms that her life would be a life better lived in an institution, and not a nice one. I believe her cerebral palsy was a birth injury, so they would probably not have been guided toward abortion. But this family chose to educate their daughter, and insisted she never allow her disability to hold her back. Visit her blog, Doitmyselfblog.com and then decide for yourself whether or not Glenda has made her mark on our world.
Without further ado, below is my comment for the story. I hope you take the time out to read the actual article. It is well and carefully written and tells the story of a family with values that fit my idea of variety in a healthy society. And by the way, I am a taxpayer who is subsidising their choices and am very happy to do so until they find their way forward. This makes me much happier than that I must subsidize big business as per our government's decisions, whether I agree or not.
I was pregnant with my third at the same time as these girls were in their own mom's womb. My own girls were 4 and 2.5 and the three of us watched as the drama unfolded.
My girls love babies and these two were no exception. I wondered if my children would feel disturbed by the differences, but held my tongue and waited. They asked questions, which I answered in a matter-of-fact way.
I think the way the family accepted Tatiana and Krista and the way that I kept any hint of my own learned prejudice out of the conversation allowed my children to recognise the normalcy of these two girls. Our baby, a boy, came out quite average.
Those of you who think these children should have been aborted have been sold a bill of American crud. We are, each of us, quirky and unusual in our own ways. Surgery, mimicking what is displayed in the glossies and on television, and a whole slew of pharmaceuticals have made a horrendous number of you judgmental freaks. If the Hogan twins entered my child's kindergarten class, he'd be as likely to chat them up as he would the kid with the ponytails because they are people, as real and as precious as the next.
My perfect human race includes people who are disabled from birth or since; people who have survived incredible hardship and/or abuse and strive on; people in the depths of despair; and people who got it "easy" and who's job it is, in part, to financially share a tidbit or two with those who will never make the dosh it requires to live a swank and easy life. What does your perfect human race look like?