Today, unusually for a Sunday I woke up at 6 and then went to the living room so as to not disturb my husband and son who were sound asleep. I grabbed a cup of hot tea, played hushed music and checked my phone. I’m an early sleeper so I usually see all my messages sent overnight, the next morning.
Two messages stood out in particular. One was from an old school friend and one from a dear friend here in the US.
The school friend suspected his child was missing milestones with an obvious speech delay.
My other friend is just like how I was when my son was 3; the mother of a child with special needs, always self doubting if she’s doing enough for her child.
I love it when anybody contacts me for guidance or help with their specially abled child. Because I’m very passionate about this.
Two different scenarios, but in both cases the parent is self doubting if they can help their child.
I keep saying this to all parents of children with special needs, that we should never doubt ourselves. I understood this from experience and I want you to know that you are the chosen one. You wouldn’t have been blessed with your special child if you didn’t have it in you to do your best for your child.
I believe God picks random kids for everybody but when it comes to special kids, he looks into his logs and checks for the names he has highlighted in his journal as feisty but still loving, stubborn but still caring, emotional but humorous enough to get through every challenge in life and then assign the special kids to these special parents. If you don’t believe in God then think of this as nature’s law.
I have a problem; whenever I’m faced with a challenge, in my mind I’ve already given it a humorous spin and am laughing about it. This is not the best way to adapt but this is how I’m designed to handle things. It’s my way! People around me have criticized me for being immature, not concerned and irresponsible. Some said I’m too young, some said I’m not doing enough to take care of my son. There was a time I used to let these words affect me. These criticisms plus my own guilt and self doubt would eat me from inside and as a result I faced depression and anxiety and what not! But not anymore. I realized that all those people who had opinions about my life and who criticized me are nowhere around when we face a problem! They are still sitting with their narrow mindedness and mocking at us. Now, I only think that if they get satisfaction out of that, so be it. They’re not worth fighting and losing my health over. I wish I had done this sooner. But better late than never!
My infamous 2017 stroke gave me double vision and I started joking that now I can quite literally see two sides of everything! But it turned out to be true. I did start seeing the good in everything that happened to us. The silver lining of every dark cloud.
I realized the things we faced with our son was just the tip of the iceberg of issues we would have to deal with later in life. It was like God’s plan to train us and make us ready for this big storm that’s going to hit us.
Our family could never have survived my stroke if we hadn’t already dealt with my premature delivery and my son’s diagnosis. I agree it was life changing but so was this and it brought out the better in us. There’s so much positivity in our house and in our minds because of these life changing events. These are the things that shaped us and made us what we are today.
We as parents of special kids are researching everyday new therapies and new treatments to help them. But we don’t realize the toll it takes on us. We doubt our each step and think whether we are unintentionally harming our child. Working mothers worry if they should quit work and stay home to help their kid more. Stay at home mothers think we should take a backset or we might end up stunting their growth and independence.
There is no right or wrong choice here. What’s right for me may not be right for you and vice versa. Choosing and standing by your choice is the right thing to do. Caring for your child and yourself is the right thing to do. I kept focusing on my child and neglected my health. But that’s exactly one of the reasons why I didn’t see the warning signs of my health deteriorating.
I have quoted this on many occasions, “strong mothers are not mothers who don’t cry. They’re mothers who cry behind closed doors”. Cry if you must, but get back up, shake off the dust of helplessness and self doubt, straighten that crown, hold your head high and keep walking.
You are enough. What you are doing for your child is enough. Don’t care if nobody sees you, your child does. Your child will reciprocate the love and care you give them. You’re not alone. God, a supreme power or an unknown force, whatever you call it, is with you and making you stronger each day.