-As a mother, I feel like i am expected to keep it all together. All the time. I can’t be sad. I can’t be angry. I can’t cry. I can’t have a meltdown. But the truth is, being a mom doesn’t make me immune to these feelings. I can’t just forget that they exist. Although some days I really wish I could.
Every mother is different. Every special needs mother is different. All of us are different and we all handle things in different ways. My way is not your way and your way is not mine. There is a huge divide in the SN community right now as what the “correct way” to deal with or handle your child’s diagnosis. Even that statement, that there is a need to “handle or deal with” a diagnosis can cause a seemingly normal conversation to turn very verbally violent in mere seconds. There are those that believe that we as SN parents should simply suck it up and move on. Those that believe we are not supposed to feel anger or grief or sadness over our child’s diagnosis. That it is not about us, the parents, that it is simply about the child. That by showing any form of emotion, except elation or joy, will be detrimental to said child. While I can see and even understand that POV, I do not believe it to be that simple.
I wish the divide in our community stopped at just emotion, but unfortunately it doesn’t. The “right” treatment plan, the “right” therapies, the “right” way to school or to not school at all or to homeschool. These debates are starting to get heated and ugly. As I said before, what works for me may not work for you and what I am feeling, you may not have. So what makes your way “right” but my way wrong? It all comes down to opinion and as we all know opinions are a dime a dozen and only valuable to the person whom’s opinion it is. All these opinions boil down to one thing.. we are all wanting to find a way to help our child. To help them become the most successful and happy people they can be. How is that different from any other parent? Let me tell you a little secret.. IT’S NOT. Every parent wants their child to grow and prosper. Every parent wants their child to be happy. Every parent wants to protect their child from the ugliness we know the world can bring at any moment. Every parent wants to shield their child from that ugliness as long as they possibly can.
Acceptance and tolerance is a HUGE factor and cause of division right now. There are those parents and advocates that say “the world at large needs to be more understanding and tolerant of our children. The world needs to change to meet them & not the other way around. Our children are not disabled, they are simply different than other people. While I COMPLETELY agree with that statement and wish beyond everything else that this will come true, in reality I know that it most likely will not and I have to be able to come to terms with that. This will get me “in trouble” with many in the special needs community and that’s ok. I have been called a pessimist & a Debbie Downer because of this train of thought, but I consider myself to simply be a realist. You’ve heard the quote “hope for the best but plan for the worst,” well, because of my life history, that is how I face every obstacle and life choice because in my experience.. the worst is what will most likely happen & if you don’t have a plan in place then your world is going to be completely rocked. I’ve been knocked off my feet more times than I can count because I was simply “hoping for the best” without a backup plan. Now I have several back up plans for most any given situation. Does this make me a control freak? To some, maybe. I feel that it makes me prepared, thus being able to prepare my child for whatever she may face now and later in life. Here is the long and short of it..
Will my little human ever be able to have a one on one conversation? I don’t know.
Will she be able to actually “play” with someone? I don’t know
Will she every be fully potty trained? I don’t know
Will she learn to swim or play tball or go to gymnastics? I don’t know
Will she be able to learn how to drive? I don’t know
Will she learn how to read or write? I don’t know
Are you noticing a pattern here? There is an ENDLESS list of things in her little life that are up in the air. There are ENDLESS questions that I DON’T KNOW the answer to. The one thing that I DO KNOW is that whatever comes our way, we WILL handle it. We WILL deal with it. We WILL work through it. How? I DON’T KNOW.
Why does being open and honest about things we simply do not and can not know make me wrong? Simple – it doesn’t. So whichever side of the road you are on, know you can always jump back and forth from one to the other. If it’s “your way or the highway” know that for some, I would 100% take that highway. If you feel the need to tell someone the “correct way” to parent, I suggest looking in the mirror first. For every finger you point at someone there are 3 of your own pointing strait back at you.