So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

I’m certain that it rarely crosses the mind of a parent upon learning that they are expecting a child that this could be a lifelong challenge. Every parent naturally expects the normal ups and downs that come with raising a child but what if that child is born with unexpected “special needs.”

My third pregnancy seemed normal, I only gained 17 pounds, and I didn’t suffer from anything other than nausea. I was in labor less than 2 hours and she was born on her due date. She was a beautiful baby with a head full of gorgeous dark hair, chubby, and amazing and I was back in my jeans within a few weeks. It doesn’t get any easier than that, right?

She was hard to hold, I’ve never seen a baby slip through your arms. She was like holding a big balloon that wasn’t fully inflated, she just slipped through. It was then she was diagnosed with Congenital Hypotonia aka low muscle tone. She couldn’t hold her own head up but she was the happiest baby I’ve ever seen, with a great big toothy grin. At 18 months she still hadn’t walked. She finally learned to roll; she rolled from room to room. Her massive head of hair hid the extremely small size of her head. She finally walked by the age of 2 years but with difficulty.

I spent the next few years asking questions.

When she turned 5 she was so excited to start school, but my social bug was cognitively slipping farther and farther behind her peers. She soon began meeting with an occupational therapist at school.

Over the years we’ve met with specialists, no real answers, wrong answers, MRI’s, genetic testing, tests to measure intellect, therapists, blood tests, etc. We’ve had more IEP’s than I’d ever care to attend again, her classmates wouldn’t accept her, she was bullied, made fun of, and we had fights with the school to include her in the classroom and in activities.

I didn’t believe she should be treated different than any other child, they are all special. She is held accountable for her actions, she has chores, she’s attempted and passed a college class, loves to fish, can drive a tractor, she babysits, good with computers, she hates doing dishes and laundry, but she can cook a mean hotdog. Bethany is high functioning, meaning she can easily disguise her disability. She can do most things that she puts her mind to and most people just assume she’s just a little “quirky.”

We finally had a diagnosis approximately 6 years ago, as close as we’ve ever gotten to a diagnosis, she has extra “stuff” on her chromosomes and is “intellectually disabled.”

While everyone else her age is enjoying their second year of college, many of them in relationships, some of her classmates have had children already, but she’s still home. I’ve tried to come to terms with my role as her parent, it took me a long time and yet I still struggle with it. I think it’s an ongoing process. Am I doing the right thing? Could I have done better? Her life is totally in my hands and some days I feel guilt and exhaustion.

As she gets older we are experiencing a whole new set of challenges; rides to work because she does not drive; she has trouble staying organized and forgets her schedule. Thankfully this job has been very forgiving. Social media scares us, she has a deep desire just like anyone else her age to be accepted and have friends. Social media does not attract the kind of friends that we want someone like Bethany to have. We’ve deleted the account. We’ve had to call the authorities on more than one occasion.

Is there a lesson here? Love unconditionally; never give up, and ask for help, you can’t do it alone. Take time for yourself; that’s a big one! Pay attention to your child, they are all special.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Cynthia Smith Huhman

I am a mother of 5 children, with a difference of 20+ years from the oldest to the youngest. I’m a new grandma to a beautiful baby boy! I have worked in the broadcast business for 9 years; I’m putting myself through college, studying marketing and leadership, and I’m a self-proclaimed big mouth for Tourette syndrome and developmentally disabled. Previously divorced; I now co-parent with my significant other of 12+ years, in 2 separate homes. Unconventional, but with a combined total of 8 kids… his, hers, and little ours it works for us! I live for my coffee & vanilla chai. I love to teach my daughter new crafts & inspiring her creativity. I enjoy my gardening, cooking, wandering around the hills with my camera, and writing. You can also find me at my new blog My motto: Pick yourself up and keep on moving!

7 Strategies for Reducing Your Kids’ Screen Time

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Young child smiling using a tablet

Recently, my husband received military orders that moved us and our kids across the country. Of course, this came with a ton of changes—thankfully, the flexibility of my job allowed me to continue working, just with reduced hours, which then meant my full-time daycare kid had to become an (almost) full-time, at-home kid since we couldn’t hack the costs of childcare in our new location anymore. So, I suddenly had to figure out working with both of my kids at home with me. This sent my stress levels through the roof. Trying to juggle my priorities as a parent and...

Keep Reading

Dear Tween, I Will Try To Remember You Little

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Tween boy lying on back of couch cushions in front of a window

When I hold you, I will try to remember your tiny arms and tiny legs wrapped securely around me. When I see you crying, I will try to remember your scraped, tanned knees and how I could fix anything with a kiss and a Band-Aid. When you tell me to go away, I will try to remember how you reached for my hand to take your next step. When you answer me with silence, I will try to remember the nights you wouldn’t let me go without one more story. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need,...

Keep Reading

Look beyond the Labels for What You Don’t See

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three kids sitting on parents' laps smiling

I’ve always said that labeling someone with high- or low-functioning autism, or any disability for that matter, isn’t ever truly accurate. You may see an extremely smart girl who seems “normal” but you don’t see everything. You don’t see how the noises hurt her ears. You don’t see how the bright lights hurt her eyes. You don’t see how hard she struggles to fit in. You don’t see how she struggles to understand the social cues. You don’t see how seriously she takes what you say even if you’re joking. You don’t see the struggles when she’s having an overwhelming...

Keep Reading

When You Look Back on These Pictures, I Hope You Feel My Love

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four kids playing in snow, color photo

I document your life in pictures. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it because I want you to know I lived every memory. And loved every moment. When you go back through the thousands of moments, I hope it sparks something deep inside of you. Something that perhaps your heart and mind had forgotten until that moment. And I hope that it makes you smile.  I hope the memories flood and you remember how much each moment was cherished.  I hope each giggle and secret that was shared with your sisters at that moment sparks...

Keep Reading

For the Parents of the Kids Who Don’t Fit the Mold

In: Kids, Motherhood
mom hugging her daughter

This one is for the parents of the kids who don’t fit the mold. I see you holding your kid together with nothing but love and a prayer as they cry or feel defeated and you wish the world would see your kid like you do. I see you wiping away their tears after they were yet again passed over for all the awards and accolades. There is no award for showing up for school despite crippling anxiety or remembering to write down assignments for the first year ever. So they had to sit clapping again for friends whose accomplishments...

Keep Reading

Let Your Kids See You Try and Fail

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter sitting on floor knitting together

Let your kids see you try and fail at something. That’s what I did today!  My daughter wanted to take a knitting class together. I said sure, naively thinking the skill would come pretty naturally. I’m usually good at things like this.  Guess what? It didn’t. Although she picked it up easily and was basically a knitting pro within five minutes, the teacher kept correcting me, saying, “No, UNDER! You need to go UNDER, not OVER.” She was kind enough, but it just wasn’t clicking. I started to get frustrated with myself. I normally take things like this in stride...

Keep Reading

My Kids Don’t Like to Read, but They Do Love to Learn

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children reading with each other, color photo

I fell in love with books during a war while my kids lost interest in reading during COVID. Between 1975 and 1990 during the Civil War in Lebanon, my mom, an avid reader, was determined to make me one despite many odds. Once every few weeks, starting when I was about 10, she and I would make the half-hour trek by foot from our apartment in Beirut to a place we called the “book cave.” It was a nondescript space—about 15 by 20 square feet—tucked in the basement of a dilapidated building. Inside, it housed hundreds of books in various...

Keep Reading

Dear Teachers, Thank You Will Never Be Enough

In: Kids, Living
Kids hugging teacher

Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system. So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves...

Keep Reading

Before You, Boy, I Never Knew

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three boys playing in creek, color photo

Before you, boy, I never knew that little boys could get so dirty. Play so rough. Climb so high. Assess your risks. Make me hold my breath. Messes everywhere.   Before you, boy, I never knew how much my lap will make room for you. My arms will stretch to swallow you up in endless hugs and just hold you close. And love you to the moon and back. And back again. Snuggling and snuggling.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything Before you, boy, I never knew that there would be so much wrestling. And superheroes, and far-off...

Keep Reading

It Hurts Seeing My Kid as a B-List Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Teen
Teen girl sitting alone on a dock

Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers. It’s summer—it’s fun, right? Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from. We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears,...

Keep Reading