People like to tell me that I’m inspirational, and each and every time, I bristle a bit. There’s nothing particularly inspirational about me in my eyes. See, if you would have asked me 10 years ago if I could handle this life, I would have definitely said no. I would have looked at someone like the person I am now, and I would have probably described them in the same manner that others describe me. I would have said that I definitely did not possess what it takes to be the mother of a child with complex medical and special needs.

The truth is that I’m overwhelmed much of the time. Social media is merely an insight to the best parts of people’s lives. So, while it may appear that I have it all together, I generally don’t. There are behind-the-scenes moments that you aren’t privy to, and I’m pretty much a hot mess. My house is never clean, my van looks like a disaster area, and by the end of the day I’m simply too tired to deal with it most of the time. I prioritize my children’s needs and my own self-care. Self-care helps minimize the burnout, so I do what I have to do to make sure I take care of me as well.

The more you have to handle, the more you become used to. Over the years McLaine’s needs have changed. As frequent feeding tube malfunctions and emergency trips to the hospital became our normal, I became more accustomed to them. Now the most stressful part of a tube displacement is waiting on the phone call to hear when they can get us in so I know how to move our schedule around for the day. This I chalk up to natural adaptation mixed with the strength that only God can give. I have done nothing special and am just living the one precious life I was given and placing my trust in a perfect God. 2 Corinthians 12:9–But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

My daughter is magical. There is something so special about her. She’s got a great laugh and gives amazing hugs. She’s an iPad addict, and loves Yo Gabba Gabba and The Wonder Pets. She’s incredibly stubborn and determined–you will not convince her to do something unless she’s sure it was her idea. I will never lose sight of how blessed I am to care for her and watch her grow, no matter what form that takes. You could write a similar paragraph about your child, right?

So, it turns out that my daughter gifted me with “what it takes” the moment she was born– LOVE –fierce, mama-bear love that fuels me to be who she needs. SHE is inspirational, but not because she is living with a disability. From the moment I felt that first stirring in my belly, I felt inspired to be a different me. I know I would do anything for her, and as her needs continue to evolve, so will I in order to meet those needs. I love my child as you love yours. You may not know it and it may not be something you’d want to think about, but you’d rise to the occasion if you had to. If you love your child fiercely (and I’m willing to bet you do), you’d be “inspirational,” too.

Lauren Cootes

A mostly stay-at-home mom to a spunky six year old diva with an unknown genetic syndrome and a four year old, wild tornado of a boy, Lauren is passionate about faith, family, food, fitness, social media and all things special needs. She prides herself on being awkwardly honest, is a lover of people and immensely enjoys their stories. Facebook: Instagram: