To be open mouthed at Mil's ignorance?

(47 Posts)
susannahmoodie Mon 21-Apr-14 09:26:52

I'm just so enraged by this...

Mil, a former Psychiatric nurse no less, was telling me about a family friend's new baby. She had seen a picture of said baby and said it was a shame because it looked as it it was "a little bit downs syndrome" hmmshock and that she always thought friend's wife "wasn't quite right".

I was so open mouthed I didn't reply but I'm going to have to say something aren't I?

For a start, the baby doesn't have ds as afaik and even if it did, Mil's ignorance about their being 'degrees' of downs is a little worrying. It really isn't her place to go round telling people the baby has ds based on a picture of a newborn.

What the hell should I say to her?

harriet247 Mon 21-Apr-14 09:36:52

I wouldn't say anything other than that you jad been reading an article and there is only one form of downs syndrome, I have heard some people refer to children with special needs being downs I the samw way people used to say spastic as an umbrella term.
I think its more ignorance than nastiness tbh

TheLadyRadishes Mon 21-Apr-14 09:40:54

But it is possible to have a milder version of Downs - Mosaic Downs (scroll down to read about it) which isn't always spotted initially.

Having said that it does sound as if MIL was talking out of her arse and being very rude about the mum, but you will be on shaky ground if you inform her there are no degrees of downs.

Shallan Mon 21-Apr-14 09:55:11

There are definitely degrees of Down's syndrome - obviously your mil shouldn't be trying to diagnose a baby based on a photo, but you may want to check your facts before speaking to her!

sassysally Mon 21-Apr-14 10:00:16

was she not just referring to the way the baby looked ie some of the facial features a bit like a baby with DS

The language that she used is out if date and offensive.

My DM (86) used to do the same, we have re-educated her.

I have two children with SN, one attends a SN school, I used to be a helper and researched lots of conditions.

There are facial features connected to some conditions/syndromes, but you certainly couldn't diagnose from a photo and babies have varies shaped faces until they grow and develop a bit. Also, there are "degrees" as such, but more to what extent the condition is present (but much more complex).

The "not quite right" comment is the most offensive part, I meet a lot of "not quite right" people, but that isn't linked to having any disabilities or conditions etc.

I would of challenged that bit.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 21-Apr-14 10:13:35

There are degrees of Down's syndrome

Why are you confronting her?

It does sound a bit like you just want a fight with your MIL not least because you seem to be slightly ignorant about Down's syndrome yourself.

Well, I wouldn't of "challenged" her, I would if used the moment to re-educate her, nicely.

That is how people learn.

If it carried on then, I would tell her straight.

Hassled Mon 21-Apr-14 10:14:56

How old is she? My quite elderly PILs sometimes show gobsmacking levels of ignorance and unawareness of current social niceties - but it's a generational thing, and there's no malice.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 21-Apr-14 10:14:57

*why are you confronting after the event (don't know where the sentence went.

You should have said something then and there rather than stewing over it.

Shockers Mon 21-Apr-14 10:17:13

As a foster carer for 0-3's, we had a HV visit for one of our babies. She looked at the toddler in our care and decided she had DS because 'her cheeks are so chubby'.

She didn't have DS.

SpiderNugent Mon 21-Apr-14 10:20:10

Isnt it fabulous that the younger generation are always right and the older wrong lol

Mrswellyboot Mon 21-Apr-14 10:27:12

She is being a bit pass remarkable and out of date. Just because she was a nurse doesn't mean she is up to scratch on all aspects of health.

I know a social worker who is politically incorrect and judgemental and rude.

However, I wouldn't challenge you MIL. Mine is lovely and though a little out of date with stuff, I try to be a friend to her. At the end of the day, she is my husbands mother. So I might gently say, 'oh right, well you know I was reading an article the other on DS and I don't think they use those terms anymore.. I was glad to have read it as I didn't realise myself'

blanchedeveraux Mon 21-Apr-14 10:36:53

It's true that there are degrees of Downs. What I would be most confused about is that she seems to be implying that the baby "caught" Downs from her "not quite right" mother. That really is clueless. I worked with a girl who had a Downs baby. She had never had the test during her pregnancy as she had suffered from extreme morning sickness throughout and had been hospitalised because of it so when the baby was born Downs it was unexpected. An otherwise apparently intelligent colleague declared it was "because of the morning sickness" that the baby was DS. Unfortunately there is still a lot of ignorance and prejudice surrounding any form of birth defect/disability and people often look to apportion "blame" where none can possibly be due.

Not sure if there's much point in "confronting" your MiL, although you might want to gently educate her that Downs can't be "caught".

Gruntfuttock Mon 21-Apr-14 10:46:11

Mrswellyboot "She is being a bit pass remarkable"

confused What does that mean?

Mrswellyboot Mon 21-Apr-14 10:54:53

I mean she is making comment when it's not her place to comment. People are to quick to open their mouth and comment instead of filtering some of their thoughts.

Sometimes it's better in real life to button it than going around making a diagnosis on children without any cause. I am sick of people like that but again, I saw nothing. Anything for a quiet life.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Mon 21-Apr-14 10:58:49

Blanche, while we're discussing how we refer to DS, can I point out that it is something you have, not something you are. A baby has DS, they are not a Down's baby. My good friend's dbro has DS and he is very keen to preserve the distinction. Hope you don't mind me mentioning it. smile Sounds like your colleague was also in shock. How are they now?

MaidOfStars Mon 21-Apr-14 22:00:46

I work with people who can have a fair crack at diagnosing various genetic disorders from even the most fleeting of glances. One of these people is often touted as being the best in the world at doing this. Train journeys with any of them are interesting...

There are degrees of trisomy 21 severity, sometimes depending on mode of inheritance. Agree with others that the 'not quite right' judgement of Mum is an issue, because it's catching, you know....

TheRealYellowWiggle Mon 21-Apr-14 22:43:59

Mrswellyboot I use pass remarkable all the time (usually about mil) never known where I picked the phrase up from though.

WordOfTheDay Mon 21-Apr-14 23:13:57

Grunt and "Wiggle*, I think that the term "to be pass remarkable" may be Irish. I learnt it from my mother, but haven't heard it since leaving Ireland. To those who don't know, someone is being pass-remarkable when they are passing comment inappropriately. The MIL here is being rather pass-remarkable.

SaggyAndLucy Mon 21-Apr-14 23:44:12

There are degrees of Down's, BUT, you either have it or you don't. you can't be a bit Down's. And looks have little to do with anything. It is also not inherited from your "not right" parents.
And as the parent of a baby with DS I agree with the PP. You have a child who just happens to have Down's. You don't have a DS baby.

MelonadeAgain Mon 21-Apr-14 23:59:40

How can she be a nurse when she doesn't understand the basics of human biology and inheritance?

CoffeeTea103 Tue 22-Apr-14 00:07:57

I would stay out of it.

JessieMcJessie Tue 22-Apr-14 01:31:27

My Mum often used "pass remarkable". Haven't heard it in ages! Scottish.

caruthers Tue 22-Apr-14 02:48:16

My DM (86) used to do the same, we have re-educated her.

That really does sound bad.

If any of my children tried to 're-educate' me then they'd be out the door pretty sharpish.

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