Rachel Bitmead is a great mother who provides lovingly for her children. She blogs about their life as so many do. But there is one thing that makes Rachel’s family special: their constant battle against the judgment from complete strangers.
How does that happen? you might ask yourself, as you scroll through their beautiful family pictures—the children share Rachel’s blond locks and big blue eyes, they all are clean and well dressed and they look healthy. And that’s the problem which Rachel addresses in her open letter about judging others without really knowing about their lives.
Strangers in the streets judge Rachel’s parenting and what they consider to be a spoiled child as they are confronted with Rachel’s 5-year-old daughter whom she calls lovingly “Miss M” in a stroller.
Miss M looks very neat and pretty in her dresses and with cute bows in her long and silky blond hair. She seems to be grumpy and generally in a bad mood—just like a kid that did not get the extra scoop of ice cream. But Miss M is not a normal, healthy child. She suffers from a condition that is invisible to outsiders who start randomly judging her without knowing about the pain she battles everyday.
Miss M’s condition is widely unknown to the greater public and so the judging is another nasty side effect of joint hypermobility syndrome.
This syndrome causes weakness and tiredness from simple everyday tasks and small amounts of movement like walking down the street. Miss M’s joints are more likely to dislocate, her muscles tend to get stiff really easily and she is in dreadful pain after a short amount of time.
So for the pretty 5-year-old, medication and strong painkillers are a regular necessity.
Rachel finally had enough. It was not enough to tell people each and every time that no, her daughter was not a severe case of laziness, but actually really brave for having it made out of the house that day—this wasn’t something she wanted to have to do every time.
Rachel had enough of telling people who were whispering and sighing and clearly judging behind her back while passing that her child was in excruciating pain. The individuals never addressed Rachel directly, but she—and even worse, her daughter—would hear the whispers and knew something was up. People would say that Miss M was too old to be pushed by her mother.
So Rachel wrote an open letter to all those people.
Her words came clearly from the bottom of her heart, and she gave a detailed explanation for her daughter sitting in a stroller rather than using her seemingly healthy legs herself. Rachel kindly talked the readers of her heartwarming letter through the condition her daughter was suffering from including all the side effects such as immense pain in the lower half of Miss M’s fragile body including joint pain in the hips as well as the actual legs and feet. The summery weather with the temperatures rising adds up to little Miss M’s condition and the pain intensifies. Judging others is easy when you yourself are healthy and able-bodied.
Rachel also mentioned that she herself was no longer able to carry her daughter as she has reached a weight which cannot be carried for longer periods of time. Furthermore, the loving mother includes information on Miss M’s condition that hint to the fact that overexercising actually made the condition worse and ends in huge therapeutic backlashes. And one of those backlashes has occurred in the past days before Rachel could not help herself but writing intense words to all those strangers who started judging her family.
Little Miss M’s body is weaker than the bodies of healthy children and she cannot be lifted in a manner that other people might be used to as her hip joints do not allow her to wrap her legs around her mother’s caring body. The pain and the weakness make the girl tired very often—all these symptoms add up. But judging outsiders do not see that.
“So the next time you see a child in a stroller and think he or she looks “too old” to be in it, don’t judge or assume the child or parent is lazy. Don’t whisper behind the parent’s back or frown at either of them,” Bitmead wrote.