Sarah Palin shared on her blog that she feels she was “chosen” to be the mother of her son Trig, who has Down syndrome and is now 9 years old.
“When I learned I was pregnant with Trig, I dreaded that certain constituents might say, ‘See, we elect our first woman governor, and she goes and gets herself pregnant!'” she wrote in her June 12 blog post. “And while I didn’t want to slow down, learning my baby boy would have some special needs changed me as maybe nothing else has.”
Palin added: “Jesus asked who touched Him. Well, the moment Trig was born, I knew who touched me. God specifically chose us to love His child Trig and to be compassionate toward him and others — and he is the best thing that has ever happened to our family.”
Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a teen, adolescent, child and family psychologist, tells Yahoo Beauty that it’s common for parents of special needs children to refer to themselves as chosen. “I’ve heard many parents of special needs kids who say, ‘We were chosen to take care of this child,'” Greenberg says. “I love that — it’s a positive mantra.”
She adds: “It is very challenging being the parent of a special needs child. That mantra doesn’t take away from the challenge, but I’m sure it makes you deal with the challenges in a much more positive way because you have meaning there. You’ve been gifted with this challenging task and that you’re up to this task.”
Greenberg notes that there are several psychological benefits to thinking this way. “It gives parents a sense of feeling empowered,” she says, “and it helps alleviate any possible resentment they might have at having a child of special needs. It also probably creates a very strong connection to a child, and as we well know, the level of attachment a parent has to a child is very important. You’re implying a connection and positive attachment.”
However, not every parent of a special needs child is a fan of the term “chosen.” One mom penned a 2014 essay for The Mighty saying that she cringes when people say that. Mom Katie Corken says that when people tell her she’s doing a great job with her special needs son, she thanks them. “Then the dreaded words are said,” she wrote. “‘God only gives special kids to special people.’ I kindly smile on the outside, but on the inside I scream. I hate that saying. I know these sweet people only have the most genuine thoughts behind this, but they need to know the truth — God can give anyone, yes, anyone, a child with special needs.”
Corken noted that she read six news articles in the past month alone about parents of special needs children who harmed their kids. “Now please tell me again — God only gives special kids to special parents? Um, no. Thank you. It’s a sweet thought, but it’s just not true. I would hate to even think for one second that I could be put in the same category as any of these parents.”
She states: “God gives us gifts in the form of our beautiful children, special or not. He expects us to take care of them, love them and protect them.”
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