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"The Special Mother" by Erma Bombeck

D'Anna - posted on 02/02/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )




I found this poem written by Erma Bombeck shortly after my daughter was born and I think it helped me to cope with my daughter's birth defects. I wanted to share it with those of you who haven't seen it before.

The Special Mother

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,

a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.

Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth

Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.

As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew."

"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter?

That would be cruel."

"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.

Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it."

"I watched her today.

She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.

You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own.

She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.

Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.

She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.

She will never take for granted a spoken word.

She will never consider a step ordinary.

When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.

I will permit her to see clearly the things I see--ignorance, cruelty,

prejudice--and allow her to rise above them.

She will never be alone.

I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life

Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.

"A mirror will suffice."


Sandy - posted on 02/02/2009




I love this poem. I found it one day while looking for info on my sons chromosome deletion. Ty for posting it.

Deborah - posted on 04/11/2011




I'm blessed with my Grace and this gave me the strength to look forward to another day. She has Beckwith Weideman syndrome and nasty brain bleeds fro being born at 26 weeks. She is my fighter and I am thankful for each and every wonderful milestone she conquers. Today I needed the reminder that I'm not alone.

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Monica - posted on 02/06/2009




this is soo beautiful and true. when we were preg. with our 1st child all said when anyone asked boy/girl we said a health baby.we ended up having a child who was special in every way.she is almost 7 yrs now and missing 8p23.1 chromosome we didnt get a diagnosis until last summer. Its been a very long hard road but worth every flat tire and every reststop and every bump in the road unleess you have been there you dont know how beautiful the destination is going to be.

Lisa - posted on 02/03/2009




I love this poem, I found it a few years ago in a group I was in. It still makes me tear up everytime I read it

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