Being a mother of a child with special needs for the past eighteen years has been a challenging and rewarding journey. It has provided me with valuable insight into a world designed for people who are not faced with a disability and has brought to my attention the overwhelming nature of the role of a mother raising a child with special needs.
In this blog, I hope to share my experience and the unique challenges faced by mothers with children with special needs, while highlighting the invaluable lessons I have learned along this extraordinary path. However, most importantly, I would like to encourage and inspire all the other mothers who, like me, have to take care of a child with special needs, and who are just starting their amazing journey.
A Super Demanding Role
One of the greatest challenges faced by mothers when one of their children has special needs is living in a world that is primarily designed for people who do not have special challenges. The lack of understanding and support from society, as well as the difficult social environments and situations, make it difficult to ensure that our children can fully participate and thrive.
The role of a mother whose child has special needs is demanding and often requires more time, energy, and resources than raising a child who does not have challenges. The needs of our children are more complex and require extra attention, which makes daily routines longer and more exhausting. From medical appointments to therapy sessions to personal care and ensuring their emotional well-being, these responsibilities can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, the love and bond we share with our children give us the strength and motivation we need to overcome these challenges.
Appreciating the Journey: Growth and Lessons Learned
Every mother of a child with special needs lives her own set of unique experiences that shape her journey. Every step and every triumph becomes a precious memory that allows us to keep going and reminds us that despite the challenges, our children are capable of extraordinary things. We are constantly adapting, not only to the physical demands of caregiving, but also to the emotional stress that comes with this role.
Over the years, the journey has been a path of growth and personal development. Through the challenges and triumphs, I have learned invaluable lessons that have made me a stronger and more compassionate person.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is resilience. Every obstacle I have faced has taught me to adapt, find creative solutions, and never give up. My journey as a mother with special needs has taught me to accept the uniqueness of everyone. I have learned to be more patient, understanding, and empathetic towards others who may be facing their own challenges.
This journey has also taught me the power of advocacy, as I have had to become a fierce advocate for my child to ensure that he receives the support and resources he needs. These lessons have not only been beneficial to me as a mother, but have also enriched my overall life experience.
I have also recently learned, through the Parent-to-Parent support group I joined a few years ago, the importance of taking care of myself, taking time for myself, and asking for help when needed. Connecting with other mothers with special needs who have walked a similar path has been incredibly empowering, as they can offer empathy, support, understanding, and advice.
Hope for the Future: Witnessing Progress and Celebrating Milestones
To all the mothers of young children who are surely feeling overwhelmed, I want to offer you hope. The challenges we face as mothers with special needs also evolve over time, and as your children grow, you will witness remarkable developments that make life less daunting. For example, communication skills can improve through speech therapy, and daily routines can become smoother through practice and consistency. These steps will give you a sense of ease and confidence in yourself and your care-giving.
It is important to recognize and celebrate these improvements that will make life less burdensome as our children grow. For example, even though my son has no verbal communication at 18 years old, his increased independence in daily activities such as dressing, eating, and self-care has allowed him to gain a sense of autonomy and has reduced the overall demands on me as a caregiver. I have seen improvements in his ability to socialize and build relationships, which has opened up opportunities for friendship and a sense of belonging.
The lack of understanding and support from society, as well as the difficult social environments and situations, make it difficult to ensure that our children can fully participate and thrive.
A Message to all Moms of Children with Special Needs
With each milestone, my child’s self-confidence grew, leading to a more positive and fulfilling journey for both of us. Although I still have some concerns about the road ahead, I have found inner serenity and acceptance. I have reached a point in my life where I am confident that everything will work out for the best in its due time.
To all moms who are feeling exhausted or uncertain about the future, I offer hope and encouragement and want to remind you to persevere. Never give up on yourself or your child. The journey is difficult, but the love and joy our children bring into our lives far exceeds the challenges we face.
Every day brings new possibilities, and with perseverance, we can overcome obstacles and discover the beautiful potential in our children. Stay encouraged, stay motivated and embrace the extraordinary path of becoming the mother of a child with special needs.