As a Special Needs mom, I have heard so much since my child was born from friends, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers, and family. In fact many of the comments used to be overwhelming. It was as if some had no home training on how to have compassion for a parent who is going through one of the most difficult times in her life. Their words used to make me feel as though I was not doing the best I could. I often felt as if no one understood. It seemed as though I was the only one in my world going through this dilemma.
I would hear things like, “You are so strong.” “Your child does not have special needs, there is nothing wrong with him.” “You are just over reacting.” ” You are too protective.” “He doesn’t have a medical condition, all boys act that way.” “He need to have more social skills, he will not know how to live in the real world.” “But…your child is smart.” “You do good a good job handling your situation by yourself.” “You are making up excuses.” “Most of the way he is, is your fault anyway, you smother him too much.” “Maybe you should have waited until you were married.” and before he was even born, “I was told I should have an abortion.”
I have spoken to so many moms of children with special needs and we all have heard the same if not similar responses.
I have provided a list of things Id like people to know about being a special needs mom.
1. Our child means the world to us.
We will stay up all night, all weekend, and on any day researching different terms we may not understand, in hopes of finding a solution to our problems. We love our children with all our heart, and just want to see them live a virtuous lifestyle.
2. We worry sometimes that we may not have not done enough.
There are so many resources out there and many we never hear about until another parent is telling us about their special needs child. Thats when our spidey senses began to analyze our own child and realize the similarities. At that point we began to reach out to physicians to determine if this could possibly help our children.
3. There are times when we are strong, and times when we are weak.
We prefer to have people around us that can recognize this and know when to speak and when to listen. We do not always need another opinion on what we should do or shouldn’t do, what the child should or should not eat, what type of clothes he or she should wear, or what activities to become involved in, but rather just an ear to listen we speak to and continued encouragement.
4. We would love to have a ME day.
If you can kindly lend a hand every now and then, we would greatly appreciate the kindness. It’s not often we want to be away from our kids, but would love to visit the spa, have a date, or girls night out sometimes and if you can provide this assistance, we would love that!
5. She really appreciates words that will uplift rather than those that will tear her down.
With all that we have to endure on a daily basis, the last thing we want to hear is what we are not doing properly. We all know there is always a right way and a wrong way to make remarks, but some people have not quite figured that out yet. It also helps perhaps if you become a little bit more familiar with the child developmental delays, learning disabilities, or needs before you say to the mom that her gut instinct maybe inaccurate.
6. Please do not tell her, “It doesn’t look like your child has special needs.”
I have been told, ” Your child does not look like,” he has a medical condition, he looks just fine.” Well, there are many mental diseases and disorders that do not have any appearance, or face, is what I call it. So, you may never know by looking that the child that he she has any medical or mental challenges.
7. Special needs moms realize that we are not perfect and love having a support system.
The only perfect person that walked this earth is Jesus, and therefore there is not one perfect parent in the world. A Special needs moms is no different and she also makes mistakes and the best thing you can offer is support. She wants to know that you have compassion and that you actually care. So if you do not have anything supportive to say to her then it may be best that you not say anything, it would really help her a lot.
8. She may spend a lot of time with her child.
I have not read any book that says spending too much time with a child is detrimental to their health. There isn’t one person in the world who will love her child like she does, understand his or her challenges as deep as her, advocate for them daily, be there through the rough days and nights, nurse them when sick, teach them in love, and enjoy every moment with them. To tell a parent that he or she needs to (fill in the blank) because they spend to much time with their child to me is offensive, and I do not think any parent deserves that.
9. What is the name of that thing your child has again? Im sorry I always forget.
I think this is so rude. Especially if you have known the mom and child for so many years and you still do not know the child’s disability. I would really be skeptical in leaving my child with anyone who has not taken the time to educate themselves and in fact my mind would not be at rest the entire time I’d be away. I believe if you are sincerely interested in being a trust worthy special needs moms friend, family member, or caregiver, that its imperative that you at least remember the child’s medical condition.
In conclusion: When a mom is struggling to use limited resources and is reaching out for help, the last thing she wants to hear are negative comments. Especially when is trying everything in her power to help her child. She is just like any other mom, and just wants to rear her child successfully but the effort requires more determination, research, and so much more, in order to provide her child the best so that he or she can lead a successful lifestyle.
How about you, what are some things that have been said to you? How were you able to remedy the situation?