Sunday, October 12, 2014

You don't get to speak for me, #IamNOTKelliStapleton!

This post was originally published HERE

When a parent of a nondisabled child murders or attempts to murder that child, we vilify that person. No excuse is ever good enough to justify such a heinous act. We talk about the victim in ways that honor their life.

But, when a parent to a disabled child attempts the same act, we are called upon to understand and have compassion for that parent. The victim's memory becomes clouded with claims of violence, being hard to care for,  and any reason under the sun (including things of the same nature I'm about to list) to justify their abuse/murder.

Most of the talks from Kelli Stapleton's supporters focus so much on how hard she had it, how she had no help, how she had no "services" (she did have services).

So, I've decided to do something that is generally not my style, I'm going to tell you how much help and services my family did and did not get. 

Please read and think.

I had my oldest son 2 months before my 19th birthday, just by being a teen mom statistically the odds were stacked against me.  I was young, naive and had not even gotten wet behind my ears in the ways of the world. And yet 16 years later, he is still alive.

We were so poor I was often isolated from the world. No phone, no cable, sometimes no car, certainly no internet (not until 2008, when my oldest was 10) and we were living so far away from any real life support... and yet he is still alive.

I had 2 more children by the time I was 22. I was stressed and stretched... still poor. By the time my youngest was born, my oldest was showing signs that something was different about him. I was written off by doctors often... and he's still alive.

I was sleep deprived for many years... he is still alive.

The doctors gave wrong labels, offer no helped, schools were a nightmare... and yet he is still alive.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina took my home and stole what seemed like my life. We crammed our family of 5 into a 30 ft FEMA travel trailer for 2 years while we rebuilt our home and lives. That was really hard  to do with 3 children the ages of 3-7-ish (I just don't recommend it!)... my child is still alive.

Even after he was properly diagnosed (autism), help was minimum. I live in the poorest state in the union (Mississippi) and just recently (in the past 3 years) have we started getting autism services in my area, many years after he was diagnosed. Somehow, I've managed to keep from hurting my child. *sarcasm*

I was lucky enough to get a free advocate from Disability Rights Mississippi. Even after that, it took 2 years of literal fighting to get anywhere. Prior to getting help from DRMS, we'd been battling the public education system for 7 years.

At some point (about 3 years ago) my mental health was deteriorating fast. I was breaking. I feel deep into an eating disorder and my marriage was not healthy. My depression was the worst it had ever been, and yes I wanted to die. I even tried to make it happen more than once. But never, not even ONE time did I think about harming my child.

I might ought to throw in here that I had not been diagnosed autistic at this point.

I recognized then and still to this day that those things were not his fault and did not happen because of him. I was not mentally well, physically sick, not sleeping... and yet still I never fathomed hurting my child

I remember days I cried nonstop because I just couldn't understand WHY no one wanted to help him.. WHY did everyone see him as a PROBLEM. WHY WHY WHY? Why were they so bent on trying to break him? 

He hurt, he hated himself, he spoke out against the bad treatment from others the only way he knew how...


And still I never thought about hurting him.

Through all of this I also had no family support and many days I felt like I was parenting alone, but he is still alive.

We finally did stumble across a resource in the form of a day treatment school. But, that part of our journey ended in May of this year.

We are once again traveling with no services and we're flying solo... and he is still alive.

It offends me immensely that one mom blogger with a large following is allowed to say "I am Kelli Stapleton and so are you". Generalizing that all mothers to disabled children are teetering on the edge of murdering them.

All the excuses that she used I've lived through or am living through:

Mental illness
Life circumstances
Lack of services
Lack of support

I can also honestly say I've had a few mental breaks, none of which involved hurting my children!

Was it difficult? Hell yes it was!

Was it exhausting? Absolutely!
Image reads #IamNotKelliStapleton
Why is unconditionally loving my children and
valuing their lives enough
to not murder or hurt them such a radical concept?
Could I have used more help? Damn right I could have!
It's not being sanctimonious when I say with absolute certainity I am above murdering my children.

Why is unconditionally loving my children and valuing their lives enough to not murder or hurt them such a radical concept?

I solemnly swear that if there is ever a day where I think "I am Kelli Stapleton"  I will most definitely find a way for my children to get protection from me and most certainly will not write a blog about it to drum up sympathy.

I promise, if this ever happens, I will take action that does not include trying to kill any of my 3 beautiful children.

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