Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
According to the old saying, raising children is not only the most difficult thing in your life but also the most rewarding. You have a great responsibility to your child’s health and well-being as a parent. Especially, if you are a special needs mother who has to raise the kid(s) by yourself. Every word and action you make can have an impact on your child’s personality and development. This job is even more difficult if you have a child who has special needs.
The role of a parent is constantly changing. Every day brings new challenges and new praises. Your loved ones need you to love, support, guide them through difficult and easy times. Parents are extraordinary and can be a great parent with just a little guidance.
What You Should Remember As A Special Needs Mother
Special Needs Mother Is Not Alone
While there may not be another person with the same symptoms as your child, there may be others with similar problems. These people are worth looking for. Although you have not met anyone who has had the same struggles as your child, you’ll have a strong support network for each diagnosis.
Special Needs Mother Too Deserve To Be Cared For
Nearly every day, we are asked to care for others. You still have to be taken care of and you deserve it. This could mean asking your family and friends to bring you a meal, or taking you on a date or giving you a pedicure. You deserve to feel loved and cared for.
Special Needs Mother Isn’t Perfect—And That’s Ok
Nobody is perfect, and all of us make mistakes. You can either dwell on your mistakes or learn from them. You can shift your perspective and see that there may have been a reason that you missed the appointment that you thought was on Tuesday, but was actually on Monday. Perhaps your child had a difficult day at school and needed the rest of the night off. You never know. However, beating yourself up won’t change the situation. So try to be positive and move on.
Special Needs Mother Is A Superhero
Although you may not be able to leap tall buildings or run faster than a bullet, you are still a superhero. You manage everyday situations that regular parents would consider impossible. Then, you can remember to take pills, infuse and inject medicine, stretch tight muscles. Moreover, you do other things such as remembering them. You are responsible for hysterical children throughout horrendous medical procedures.
You also manage tantrums, meltdowns. In short, you are a parent who encourages your child to do things that doctors said they wouldn’t do. But you don’t give up on them. You can be a friend, therapist, doctor, confidante, and even a nurse.
Therapy Is Play And Play Is Therapy
Therapy is play for children. Play is therapy. The point is, your child enjoys doing challenging activities that his/her therapists made into a game to keep him/her engaged. So, it’s best to follow their lead and try it at home.
You can also seek out extracurricular activities that could offer therapeutic benefits for your child after he/she was discharged from therapy. Take your child to swimming lessons, participate in track and sled hockey because that is all therapy. He is learning, having fun, and becoming stronger. Win, win and win!
You Won’t Always Get It Right And That’s Why You Should Forgive Yourself
There is no right answer to many of the difficult and painful choices you will have to make. You’ll do your best, but it won’t always be easy.
You will make mistakes sometimes, even if you have the best intentions. You will not feel better if you torture yourself. It will also not make you better. There is no right answer to many of the most difficult decisions.
Being A Parent Is Hard. Being A Special Needs Mother With Extra Needs Children Is Extra Hard
You may also find it more rewarding. It can make us more passionate. It will almost always make your life more interesting. The rewards come with the challenges. Sometimes, you will have to look deep within yourself for the rewards. But they are there if we just look.
You Will Be Obligated To Make Heart Wrenching Decisions
It will be hard to accept difficult decisions that leave you feeling hurt and questioning everything you thought. Keep in mind that you are trying your best. These types of decisions can be overwhelming for you, and you know how it feels to agonize over them.
Talk to others about your dilemma and you will be able to trust yourself to make the right decision. It’s okay to let it go and don’t think about it again. It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort!
What You Should Do As A Special Needs Mother
Parents are often very busy and over-scheduled. While it is important to keep your schedule full, it’s equally important to take time to laugh, joke, and enjoy your children. Talk to them, cuddle with them, and engage them in what is important in their lives. Create memories beyond the hospital walls.
Don’t Lose Yourself
Do not let being a parent to a child with special needs create or change your identity. While you are many things, being a parent to a child who has special needs is merely a part of your identity. It shouldn’t be your only identity. If you place all your attention on your child, and forget all your friends, and all your efforts around them, you can lose your identity. You can find things you love to do in your life, such as a glass of wine, a hobby or shopping for yourself.
Celebrate The Little Things
Be proud of the accomplishments that may seem small but have a huge impact on our children! Children learn skills at their own pace. Some are learned late, some never master. Share the milestone with your loved ones.
Don’t Let Typical Parents Get You Down
It can be hard to hear parents tell you that your child is six months older than theirs and is not walking. It’s also difficult to deal with someone who is well-meaning and asks your 2-year old why they are scooting about on their bum instead of being upright.
Remember that they lack the context we live in. Be patient, explain, and teach the people who don’t understand. Remember that proud parents are entitled to boast about their children’s achievements, but it is not a compliment to your child’s.
This is another difficult one, but it’s worth it. Every child is unique, and each one will develop at his or her own pace. Talk to your child’s physician if a milestone in development is not met. Comparing your child with a sibling, cousin, daycare student, or children with the same disability type can make it difficult to feel better. Each child is different and will have their unique strengths and challenges.
Make Time For Your Marriage
Marriage is hard work and parenting is hard work. It is difficult to parent a child with special requirements. If you are married or in a relationship, take some time to enjoy that relationship.
Trust Your Instincts
You know your children the best. Although teachers, doctors, and therapists can be great resources, it is a good idea to seek a second opinion if you feel that you are not being heard or that your child is being properly cared for. Do not be afraid to advocate for your child’s needs. You are the expert in your child’s area, while professionals may be experts in their field.