Special Needs Parenting – a perspective for a new year.

I am sharing a poem today as a battle cry for 2013.  As a working mother of a child with Special Needs, I think that there is no time for us to allow people to feel sorry for us.

Yes we work hard, some harder than others. Not only are we balancing therapy, development, medical needs, and general hustle of life but we are also trying to provide for our families.

Making sure that the money does not fall short of the month.
Fulfilling not only our commitments to our family, but to our employers who may or may not be understanding.

2013 is a new year, a year to try to make things better… and how do we do that is to be there and support each other, not only at the parties and the gatherings, but also in the quiet times. (if there is such a thing)
Those moments when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and quit.
We all have them.
When those who do not understand  make insensitive comments.

We worry about treatments, surgeries, schedules and there are those times when  ‘you don’t see how but you figure out that you just have to make it work.

I have an issue with only one line of this poem. It is in the final stanza … it says “We are selfless, not by choice, you see. Our kids just have more needs.”  
We all become selfless when a child is born. Your life shifts focus. from you to your children.   I would say that all parents are selfless. (or at least should be)
I do not think that we are looking for special consideration. We want to be included, we want our children to be included, no matter the challenge. We want things to be normal. The reality is that it is not.  But this is where we rise to the occasion as parents are supposed to do. As any parent should do.  We educate ourselves on medical conditions, treatments and therapies. We probably have learned more on the go than we did in college, applying what we have learned into everyday practice almost immediately   We have to be aware of what is working with our child and what is not, and adapt accordingly.

You just do … You take a deep breath and dive in…. Here is a toast to 2013.

We wage the war against ignorance, bringing tolerance and understanding and support to other families who, no matter their challenge are battling right next to us… we are a United Nation of Parents, Allies, and Advocates.  And although this title is Special Needs MOM’s , it is not just moms. It is Dad’s, Sisters, brothers, Siblings, extended families, and friends. We are all in this together. – Cheers!

Here is the poem:

Special Needs Moms

You may think us “special moms” must have it pretty rough.
We have no choice. We just manage life when things get really tough.
We’ve made it though the days we thought we’d never make it through.
We’ve even impressed our own selves with all that we can do.

We’ve gained patience beyond measure, love we never dreamed of giving.
We worry about the future, but know this “special” life’s worth living.
We have bad days and hurt sometimes, but we hold our heads up high.
We feel joy and pride and thankfulness more often than we cry.

For our kids we aren’t just supermoms, No, we do so much more.
We are cheerleaders, nurses, and therapists who don’t walk out the door.
We handle rude remarks and unkind stares with dignity and grace.
Even though the pain they bring cannot be erased.

Therapies and treatment routes are a lot for us to digest.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we give our kids our best.
None of us can be replaced, so we don’t have many breaks.
It wears us out, but to help our kids, we’ll do whatever it takes.

We are selfless, not by choice, you see. Our kids just have more needs.
We’re not out to change the world, but want to plant some seeds.
We want our kids accepted. That really is our aim.
When we look at them we just see kids. We hope you’ll do the same.

-April Vernon


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