When Elise was fairly new, I felt that I was constantly being watched and OBSERVED as a new parent to a child with special needs. I don't really know now, how constant that actually was. Everybody looks at new babies. Are they all questioning what is "wrong" with your child? No, probably not.
Everyone I knew was adjusting to our new life, too. And the weight of people feeling sorry for us was VERY heavy there for a while. Like oppressively so.
HOWEVER, there are those that do judge. I had more than a few people eye Elise in her baby bucket carrier, and some brave ones actually asked what was "wrong" with my baby. At first, I accepted this, and answered their questions. After a while, this got old, and so I would answer "nothing, she's just tired".
But one day, I was at the end of my rope emotionally, and some ugly little lady asked me what was "wrong" with my baby, and I caught my breath and shrieked "What???? I don't know!!! Do you think she is sick? Do you think she has Downs? What????" She was horrified and retreated, and I had a nice, if hysterical laugh over her panic....It was ever so freeing. In retrospect, I fluctuate between ashamed of my behavior, and thinking it pretty much served her right.
I got Norah Jones' album Come Away With Me along with everyone else in early 2002 and I loved it. When I found that I was going to have a girl, I would listen to the song "Seven Years" and imagine making dandelion and daisy chains in the sunshine with my little girl...
Then when Elise was born, I would listen to that song with a dagger in my heart, mourning the normal. The "nothing wrong" in the song seemed a taunt, rather than a promise. I hated it. And gave up listening to this album for a while...
Elise found it a few months back and decided that she liked it and wanted to listen to the CD as she went to sleep. And I listened to the words to "Seven Years" again. And I found myself thinking that it applied even more to her than I ever thought it would. She is happy and there is nothing WRONG with her. She is perfectly her. And that is all there is to it.