Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recommended: "Our Birth Story"

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine
One of the gulfs between disabled people born with their disabilities, and parents of kids with disabilities, is how we think about the birth itself and that first discovery of disability. While all of us with disabilities can understand, intellectually, that it had to be one of life’s worst moments for our parents, we don’t want to dwell on that, because somehow that implies that we are one of the worst things to happen to our parents. We know that's not true either, but that can be hard to remember, given how many parents talk about it.

Meanwhile, special needs parents crave some recognition and understanding about what they went through … a connection and empathy that might be impossible for other parents to give. Even we, their children, can’t fully connect, because we have our own complicated issues with “that day” in the hospital.

All of which is just an overlong introduction to an extraordinary podcast episode I just listened to. It is called “Our Birth Story”, and it is the latest installment of Sawbones: A Marital Tour Of Misguided Medicine.

Sawbones is hosted by Justin and Sydnee McElroy, husband and wife. Justin is a podcaster and comedian, and Sydnee is a physician. Together, they take a humorous look at some of the bizarre twists and turns of medicine throughout history. Lately, several of their shows have been related to reproduction and birth, because Sydnee was pregnant with their first child. This episode is a departure because it is about their actual birth experience, and it is only funny in the sense that these two can’t help being funny … otherwise it is an amazingly vivid description of what happens to parents when things don't go according to plan in childbirth.

Their little girl Charlie is fine, so their experience isn’t a direct parallel to disability. However, I really felt that regardless of the ultimate outcome, Justin and Sydnee had a lot to say that I’m sure parents of kids with disabilities can relate to, especially the “white knuckle terror” of knowing something is wrong and being powerless to do anything about it … and not even being told what’s happening. At the same time, Justin and Sydnee are smart and level-headed people, so they are able to view their experiences with at least some objectivity, which makes the podcast bearable and informative.

Listening in my car, I though a lot about my parents and their "that day" ... including my father, who was a Pediatrician.

I would be especially interested in what any special needs parents think of the podcast.

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