*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
One of my worst memories of parenting was the day I brought my baby daughter to the Department of Motor Vehicles to register my car and I practically shamed out the door.
You see, my daughter was born with hip dysplasia, which means her hips were not properly in their sockets at birth and she had to have corrective surgery when she was only four months old to spare her a lifetime of pain and immobility.
Because of this, she was in a spica cast for months, which is a cast that goes from high on the waist all the way down to her ankles on both sides, with a little hole cut in the middle in which to shove her diapers in.
It was a nightmare for many reasons.
She didn’t fit in a regular car seat, stroller, baby swing, high chair, anything.
Everything we did was rigged for her comfort using anything from pillows to bungee cords to keep her in place.
When I took her out, I had to put a pillow behind her and between her legs in the stroller and then strap her in with each casted leg sticking out one side.
It was very hard to maneuver her around in it because her legs were wider than the stroller - I had to be very careful not to bang her into anything.
Anyway, I didn’t much like taking her out in public those months she was casted, mostly because of what happened at the DMV.
I was sitting in the front row of the waiting area for my number to be called with my daughter’s stroller in front of me when I heard some ladies chattering and whispering right behind me, and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.
“If I dropped my baby and broke her legs I would never bring her out in public.”
“I know, can you believe this woman, like ‘Hi, I abuse my kid, but whatever!’”
My heart started racing and I’m sure my face went red with my rage.
I turned around and glared at the women.
“Her legs aren’t broken, she was born with a birth defect that’s being corrected and she’s perfectly fine, thank you very much!” I snapped at them, and turned back around.
Neither of them said anything to me. They didn’t apologize, but they didn’t seem to talk anymore either for the remainder of the time I was sitting there.
Finally it was my turn and I got called to the counter, but when I was leaving I had to pass by the two women again and they were whispering and looked up at me as I walked by.
I knew that I had done nothing wrong to my child, but some people are so nosy and rude, they don’t hold back from shaming you in public.
These women were not the only ones in the time my daughter was casted who gave me dirty looks and shared whispers about her legs, but I never bothered taking any more time to correct people.
It was enough for me to know I was taking good care of my daughter.