Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

When you become a Momma, you are filled with dreams. From the moment that you learn of your pregnancy, you start thinking about your child and the life they may have. If you already have children, you think about how the new baby will grow up with their siblings, building bonds that will last throughout their life. You think of the children playing together and at times conspiring together. Of course, being siblings they will experience the occasional rivalries or times of angst. But overall, the bond you dream for them will be strong enough to withstand what the world throws their way.

When your baby is born, you are ecstatic. You cuddle your little one close and continue to have dreams. Play dates and parties, along with the fun times you will have as a family and the children have with their friends drifts through your mind. You have friends who have children of their own. You talk and share in the joys and challenges of parenthood. Throughout it all, you feel the bond of friendship, a sisterhood, with them.

Then comes the day when you get the news. You learn that your precious little one has been diagnosed with Infantile Autism. Soon, there are therapy appointments, doctor visits, and home therapies that begin to take priority in your family’s life. There are meltdowns and seemingly irrational fears or distress from your little one that are painful to watch. But as Momma, you have to face it all with a steadiness that will provide a calming balm to your little one. You balance your time so that you not only give the little one all that they require, but time to the rest of your family as well. At times, it can feel like you are walking through an emotional minefield. All of your family needs your attention, each in their own way, and you pray that they allow you to take care of their needs one at a time. You carve out times for each child so that none feel slighted.

Your friends offer supportive comments when they see you out and about. At first, you take them seriously when they say, “If you ever need me – even just to talk – give me a call.” Your eyes get opened up pretty quickly though when you do reach out. Unanswered texts or unreturned calls are not unusual. You don’t reach out but rarely because you know that people without a special needs child have no understanding of what you are dealing with on a daily basis. They may mean well and can have compassion, but they just don’t get it. They have not lived with a child who is severely delayed in their development. They haven’t experienced first hand what it is like to have a child who screams or cries in frustration because they cannot communicate to you a need that they have. They haven’t tried to go to the store to do some necessary shopping, only to leave you cart behind because the stimuli in the store was more than your little one can endure. They don’t know how inadequate a parent can feel at those moments when their child is having a meltdown from over stimulation and others are less than compassionate towards you and your child. In the middle of all the chaos are the siblings who you also have to reassure. In the beginning, the reassurances are needed much more than later. Sadly, the siblings gain an acceptance that meltdowns can happen. In a way, it is a relief though when they make that realization.

The times of stress, when you are dealing with new behaviors or meltdowns are happening over new situations, you want to reach out. But to whom to you go? By this time, you have already learned that people want to hear that all is well and don’t want to hear about a difficult day. You have heard, “You are such a strong woman” so many times that it is no longer a comfort but another weight around your shoulders. You want to tell them that you are not strong enough to face these situations alone. No, not because you are suffering from depression . It is simply that people were created to be relational. We crave, by our own nature, the companionship of friends. Think of all the times when simply talking with a friend made a tough time a bit easier. They may not have eliminated the cause of your stress, but just being able to talk it out gave you relief. A Momma of a special needs child is no different. We have had to mourn the dreams of what could have been and accept what is. We have to develop new dreams for our child that are more in line with their true potential. That is painful! It puts an ache into your heart to go from a dream of college for your child to praying that they will one day be able to live in an assisted living home and not a full care nursing home.

There is no more times of meeting up with a friend for coffee. You find that suddenly everyone is too busy. Some of the people whom you always thought of as friends turn out to be the fair weather variety. They are there when all is well before you had your little one, but suddenly have too much going on once your special needs child came along. One of the things that I found is that these friends really don’t mean to stay away or ignore you. They really do have other things on their mind, For some, they may be uncomfortable with the realities of the special needs. They don’t understand it and so avoid it. Then there is a classic reason known as “out of sight, out of mind.” They don’t intend to alienate you, they just get so focused on their own life that they forget you are there until they see you again. It isn’t anything to put blame on. It is simply a reality. Just as the sun comes up in the east each morning, people will let you down.

One of the replies that has me mentally shaking my head is when people tell me, “Stay in prayer because the Lord will always give you strength.” Yes, that is true. But, let me ask this. What if the way the Lord helps to strengthen us in difficult days is the reaching out of a friend? A common saying in churches is that “we are the hands and feet of the Lord.” This meaning behind this being that it is through using us that the Lord can bring about blessings to others. What if, it is through you making a phone call that the Lord is able to help lift the spirits of someone having a bad day? What if, it is through just a simple text message or email that the Lord helps someone to not feel like they are walking the path alone? What if?

It is the little things that can make the rough days feel lighter. Yes, the special needs issues will always be there. Truly knowing deep down in your heart that you have a strong support system through your friendships can make it much easier to manage. It doesn’t take much. A simple card or postcard in the mail, a phone call, a text, or even a hug when you see the friend can lift the weight of the stress for that moment in time. The real gift then becomes the moment that you, the parent of a special needs child, have that peace in your heart. Placed there by the Lord through the love and compassion of people in your life that are genuine in their feelings. That is the gift. It is also one of the most rare jewels you will ever achieve in your life.

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