Written by Tosin Ade
Throughout our lifetime, we are going to experience a myriad of life-changing milestones. The spectrum of these milestones can be wide-ranging from losing our first tooth to becoming a parent. Of all the milestones we reach, having a child, for those of us who yearn for such, is up there with major life-changing milestones.
Our lives begin to change the very moment we get a positive pregnancy result. We restructure our lives in every imaginable way possible. Every waking moment and daily activity is channeled toward the anticipation of our perfect baby. We wait anxiously and dream about all that we hope for this precious gift. Thoughts of when we first meet the baby, first cry, first step, first word, and a series of other firsts that come with welcoming a newborn into our world. Our hopes, plans, and dreams all seem perfect and well-curated. We believe with the most molecular part of our being that we will get to experience all that we wished for our child. However, life in its glorious form and intricacies has a way of dishing out surprises on a platter.
What happens when the rug of life is suddenly pulled from underneath us, when the pronouncement is made that we would not experience life with our child the way we’ve perfectly curated? We feel devastated. We feel lost. We try so hard to get a grip of our world. The innumerable emotions that a parent experience when given the news that a child will most likely not develop or experience life in a way comparable to his peers, is indescribable. One of the pronounced feelings a parent feels is that of guilt. The endless battle and the searching of the soul to figure out what we have done wrong and where we went wrong. With more awareness and medical intervention, there is an understanding that no one is at fault. Nevertheless, the guilt lingers and occasionally rears its monstrous head into the forefront of our thoughts.
To every special needs parent out there, you are in no way responsible for your child’s disability. There was nothing you could have done differently to bring forth a contrasting outcome. You did everything you could have done. As you receive the diagnosis of your child’s disability, you became the fiercest fighter and advocate for your child. You sought out to find out all there is to know about your child’s disability. You continue to seek ways to make your special needs child have access to all the resources and support he needs. It is imperative that you do not let the rude remarks of uninformed individuals make you question your parenting abilities. The most important thing is that your child sees and appreciates you showing up for him or her every day.
Acceptance can be hard. Let go of any type of guilt surrounding your child’s disability. Find your tribe and know that the people who truly care will never make you feel guilty or question your worth as a parent. Your tribe will be your rock, backbone, and shoulder on which you lean.
This article was initially published in Exceptional Needs Today at www.exceptionalneedstoday.com