Please Don’t Call Me ‘Special’


I am the mother of 4 children, all grown, all ‘special’ to me. As a mother, it is not surprising that I think ALL of my kids are special, for what mother doesn’t think that?  But I am sure you might have a hunch, that isn’t what I mean to talk about here today….this isn’t a brag post about all my kids, although I could easily do that!

My second son has a disability. To the world, he has ‘special needs’. Saying that is one of my biggest pet peeves, because, don’t we ALL have special needs of some sort? For some reason, we live in a world that likes to label, and so they do.

But this post isn’t really about my son being called ‘special’, either.  It is about being a mother of a child with a disability and people calling ME special.

Ugh.  That is my true reaction to that.  Through the years, I have had countless people tell me that I must be special as God ‘chose’ me to have this ‘special’ child. Really? Who actually believes that.  I am not special or any different than anyone else.  I had 4 children, all different, one who happens to have a disability.  I am their mom.  That is all.  I have done what I would like to think is just a normal thing for moms to do.  I have taken care of my child.  I have fought hard for his rights.  I have tried to make people realize he is a person first, that the disability is only a part of who he is.  That does not make me special.

Is my life as a mother different than those that do not have a child with a disability?  Sure. But we all have our issues to deal with and that is what we do.  Mine is just a different one.

I tend to cringe when I am called special. Maybe I don’t feel it and maybe I don’t want to have to live up to the expectations that comes with being a ‘chosen’ one, if you will. I thought about this long ago and got to wondering.  Maybe, for some the reason that some people tell me I must be special for God to choose me to have this child, is that they are really saying….I am glad it was you and not me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean everyone that said means that, at all.  It was just a feeling I got from many.

I would rather you just call me a mom. Or Joy. I am just living the life I was dealt to the best of my ability. Just like anyone else.  So please, don’t call me ‘special’.


  1. Thank you for your honesty. My sister also has a differently-abled child. I don’t know that I’ve ever referred to her as “special”. I have alternately thought that I’m glad it wasn’t me and also I wish it had been me b/c I’d had more access/knowledge of resources. She doesn’t share a whole lot about her experience; so I’m always drawn to others who can express these insights.

  2. I think some people do mean that. I’ve also felt that when some people say, “I’ll pray for you,” that is their way of ending a conversation, because they cannot relate to the problem at hand. Not everyone, but some. I think there are people who lack empathy, and are slightly afraid of certain hardships or suffering, and they revert to the trite to distance themselves from it.

  3. People have the inexplicable need to say “something” without realizing that sometimes if they said “nothing” it would be far better. I resonate so much to what you said about people telling you God must have “chosen” you. I can’t stand it when people rationalize something bad that happened by saying God must have a plan. Sorry, I don’t believe in the kind of God who goes around playing ‘eeny-meeny-miney-mo…I chose YOU to have X happen to.” However, I disagree that you’re not special… you ARE, but it has nothing to do with your 2nd son! 🙂

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