I understand that generalizations can be upsetting, so I want everyone to be clear I am not clumping all special needs parents into the confines of this idea. Every single special needs parent handles the day-to-day in their own way, and I respect that. I know for myself, I wished I had found some encouragement in the form of our reality via the internet. I hope by sharing a piece of my heart someone going through the same daily struggles might find they aren’t alone in their feelings and hardships.
Friends, we are all together in this, and for some of us, it’s just hard.
There are several ideas floating around surrounding the idea of being a special needs parent.
“God only gives special needs children to strong people.”
“Your sweet child was put on this earth to show us all how special life truly is.”
“Oh my, I honestly could not do what you do.”
You guys, I am over it.
Guess what? I am not always strong.
Sometimes I am so overwhelmed I think I could run away. When things stop feeling special and start feeling stressful, I just want to retreat.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a time I romanticized the idea of being a special needs mom. I had envisioned this child who would just need a little more of me. A child I would get to keep a little longer than most parents.
The reality is, I am burnt out and exhausted.
Every morning, I feel the anxiety rise as I wonder what kind of mood we will be doing that day. I put socks and shoes on the same two feet at least four times every morning. I brush a head that is so sensitive to the bristles, it usually results in flailing arms and head butts to my mouth. As I put short little arms through coat sleeves, I watch two eyes fill with tears because the material is more than this little person can handle.
I do this every single day, all before 9 a.m.
Then, there are the things no one, I mean no one, likes to talks about. Like how tough potty training is or how outrageously loud these kids can scream. Why aren’t we talking about how much pressure we put on ourselves to prepare these little people for a world that doesn’t understand them?
As I lie in bed every night, I wonder if it will ever get any easier.
I tell God, “Lord, I am so grateful for this little person, but how could you possibly think I have what it takes to raise this child?” I cry silent tears and worry washes all over me.
I just have such a hard time relating to some of these articles that tell me MY life is just one long beautiful journey. I could never truly put into words how deeply my heart shattered when we learned of her diagnosis. I Googled my heart out and found article after article celebrating her diagnosis.
A diagnosis that had devastated my heart, my home, and my marriage.
This is the stuff people don’t talk about.
So, no, I am not an individual radiating with strength and resilience. My sweet child was not put on this earth for no other purpose than to give us sentimental feelings of life in general. Lastly, yes . . . yes you COULD do this because you wouldn’t have a choice in the matter.
I know I cannot speak for every special needs parent because we are all at different places in our journey, but I will say this: being a special needs parent is not one warm and fuzzy feeling after another.
It is hard.
It is stressful.
Sometimes, it feels hopeless.
But I love my child, and no diagnosis would ever take away my fight for her.