NOTE: this is a bit of a series examining if we have the right to be… Deaf.
To see Part I go to:
part II: The Right to Be… Deaf
now suppose miracle upon miracle – i make it through this gauntlet i.e.:
– i conceived au naturale so no need for IVF and any pre-implantation screening
– i didn’t go for genetic counseling or testing
… and an actual baby makes it debut – what am i likely to be greeted with on the maternity ward –
– “we gotta test that there baby to see if s/he fails the hearing test”
Really – this sweet child of mine is just a wee bit fresh to this world and i done tried my best to protect her/him from audism as best i could but now s/her is OUT and this is their greeting – this is “the systems” welcome to the world sweet wee-thing
and remember “its in your best interest”
– and “mom and dad, here is the bill for the universal newborn hearing & screening intervention test”
“but,” you say but they don’t h/ear you – ODD, eh?
– and “mom + dad or mom + mom or dad + dad or just mom, here is a pamphlet re: Cochlear implants for your baby”
to which u say… “BUT…”
and they say – “oh it doesnt matter that the baby might NOT be Deaf at all because…You ARE
you are Deaf
and it offends us
it disturbs us
and it is a drain on society
and we just want to HELP”
ok ok they dont say that overtly but that is the general message when they are tooting and rooting those glossy pamphlets on what should be the happiest day of your life and before they even know if the baby is Deaf
talk about raining on a parade – oy. that there is HAIL.
to which mom/dad COULD reply – “r e a l l y – u want to help by spoiling the birth of my child by rubbing AUDISM into my face!”
so you add, “next time, home birth me wanna.”
and they (the system) says, “oh, dont worry dear we got a law saying the dept of hygiene / health requires testing and BLOOD work even from home births.” (and what else we do with that blood sample and those there cells – never you mind about that dearies – just focus on your precious beautiful new darling)
“we got u covered – hospital or home birth. We aim to collect, document, register, and track. Yes and indeedy we do.”
Now if the new parents are Hearing – chances are they are still in utter shock which will soon be followed by intense grief (which may include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance)
so if me and me babe survive the few days in the hospital and we dont plummet into despair from all the stigma and labels (failed, h/earing LOSS, h/earing impaired, diagnosis, disability, handicap, technology, options, audiologist, speech pathologist, amplificaiton, bilaterial implants), i will have to bring the innocent babe for a follow up visit with the audiologist. More testing cuz ya know false positives and false negatives sooo ….
“But congratulations and just mosey on home now.”
Geez how differently things would be if they did the test and called in bilingual-bicultural Deaf specialists who said: – “Congratulations you are the proud parents of a Deaf baby. You are blessed. Here is a basket full of goodies – Clerc’s Children DVDs, ASL book, info on bi-bi, a stuffed bunny signing ILY, and many more. …”
Other relevant links:
“Imagine” by Mel at We Never Landed in Holland
“What is an ‘Oral Success’?” by Jeffrey at The Terlinguan