‘My disabled child is not an ‘angel.’ He is not ‘celestial’ or ‘heavenly.’ He’s just like you, fully human.’: Down syndrome mom claims son ‘wasn’t sent here to teach you or me something’

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“I need to get something off my chest: my child with a disability is not an angel.

Well-meaning people like to tell me he is, but I am his mother. I have seen things. I know better.

Neither he nor his counterparts are celestial beings. When we think that about him and others with disabilities in this way, when we project this heavenly identity, we strip away their humanity. We unknowingly make them more ‘other’ than the world already has.

We all have gifts. I do believe my child has a higher level of intuition. I think he feels what others feel deeply. I think he has the ability to spread joy around more than many. But just like all of us— he has strengths and weaknesses.

My child with a disability wasn’t sent here to teach you or me something. But through him, we can learn.

Courtesy of Jillian Benfield

He does have lessons to share, one of those lessons is this: his life is a bit different from yours and that’s okay because different is not less. His life is just as worthy.

Just like you have dreams, so will he. Just like you want to have an impact, so will he. Just like you want a seat at the table, so does he.

Courtesy of Jillian Benfield

My child is not an angel. He is like you, fully human. Like you, he wants what you want—to be included, to be embraced, to be loved for exactly who he is.”

Courtesy of Jillian Benfield

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jillian Benfield. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Jillian:

‘The doctor called…the blood screen came back, it’s not good.’ My heavy 22-week pregnant body fell to the floor. It’s normally at this point people want to talk about their options.’

‘Dear NICU Mom, I see you. This moment isn’t at all how you envisioned, but you are determined to embrace it anyway.’

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