Outnumbered and The Realisation

Many of our members really related to the poem ‘Outnumbered’ by Becky Hemsley (shared here with her permission) which speaks about the experience of having a child with special needs and being made to feel they don’t measure up. More Becky Hemsley poetry
The second poem was written by a member of our support group in response.


7 pounds 10 ounces –
They all asked how much you weighed
And an IQ of 100
Makes you average so they say
9 out of 10 in Monday’s test
Piano to grade 5
2 minors in your Friday test
And now you’re free to drive
85’s the pass mark
So you’d better try your best
And if you’re scoring 90
Then you’re destined for success

But grade five doesn’t tell them
Of your favourite song to play
And how much you love is not defined
By how much you might weigh
Seven pounds won’t tell them
You were born to paint the stars
And your test scores can’t explain
How you have come to bear your scars
Two is not nostalgia
When you drive yourself back home
And it’s not the memories you make
With friends out on the road
Eighty-five and ninety
Aren’t the songs you sing when sad
And they’re not the feeling in your heart
When you get up to dance

One hundred doesn’t tell them
That your favourite month’s September
So when you feel outnumbered
It’s important you remember
You are strength and you are kindness
You’re creative and you’re brave
You are things that can’t be measured,
Can’t be counted, can’t be weighed
You’re a name and not a number
You weren’t born to be a score
So don’t let them quantify you
When you’re made of so much more

The Realisation

What a sweet boy you have,
How much did he weigh?
Is he rolling yet, sitting up?
Does he play?

He’s so quiet,
Oh, isn’t he good.
I bite my tongue, blink a few times,
Try to hold back the flood.

He doesn’t do much, does he?
“Hi, hello there!?”
What’s wrong with him?
Why doesn’t he care?

He’s so floppy,
He doesn’t even blink…
They’re always well-meaning,
But they just don’t think.

And then the questions stop,
When they realise,
That you’re a little different,
And things look different, in your eyes.

You might be off the charts and floppy,
No interest in your toys,
You sleep a lot, don’t do much,
But you’re my precious little boy.

I won’t forget the smile you lost,
And the smile you later found,
When you clasped your hands together,
When you began to look around.

Your path will be unique,
Paved by your tenacity alone.
And we’ll look back at these dark early days,
And realise how much you’ve grown.

— EK