– A continuation of “Because every mama needs someone who gets “it” and someone who wants to.”
There is nothing like those moments when you are talking with a friend and you share a struggle that you and your child are having and she says,
“Oh girl- SAME!!!”Friend who gets “it.”
And then to make it even better, she either tells you a story about her child that is literally identical to yours, OR when you describe how you feel, what you’ve tried, or what else they (your special needs child) has done, she basically completes your sentences.
I have a friend who has been completing my sentences since I was pregnant with my first.
See, coincidentally we have literally been walking the same path. Our first born children were born within weeks of one another. They are both girls. Our following 2 children, both boys and spanning the same ages. We both had husbands in ministry, went from working to stay-at-home moms, lived in one of the most expensive suburbs of DC on a one-income salary and then moved away from Northern Virginia for our husband’s jobs.
Every time we catch up on the phone we pick up where we left off, as if we had seen each other yesterday.
So when we both started to recognize some neuro-divergent behaviors in our children, it almost made sense.
Because life with neuro-divergent children does everything but make sense.
But there is something so comforting about sharing what your life is like with another, and it totally makes sense to them.
It makes sense to them when you say,
“It feels like we just can’t leave the house.”
“Other moms just look at me like we’re crazy.”
“I just don’t have capacity for anything else.”Friend who gets “it.”
The need for connection and a desire to be understood is a natural desire. One that is so imperative for the health of anyone raising children in this world.
When they say it takes a village, it’s not just because we all need an extra hand (especially if the kids outnumber the adults) but because every mom needs a little reassurance!
For me, being able to connect with a mom who can personally relate to having a high needs child and all that it encompasses is so very necessary.
She understands when I talk about how hard it is to be in a community group at church because of the needs of our kids.
She understands when I share about how I wish our family could just feel “functional” for one day.
She understands when I say, I have no margin for anything else.
This kind of connection is so important for the mental health of moms, especially moms of children with high needs. This kind of connection provides validation, affirmation, encouragement and hope.
Every mother’s life holds differences and similarities to the next and I think it’s extremely valuable to have a life that is enriched by the perspectives and methods of both.
If you feel alone in your motherhood journey, I hope you won’t stay there.
Pray for the Lord to place that mama in your life that HE knows you need. He will provide. And do some digging.
When we came back from living overseas, we did not return to the home that we we left in Florida, we went instead to NY in an effort to live near family because I was coming to the realization that for me- having 3 young children, 2 of them with special needs, was going to require a village.
So when that attempt did not work out and we ended up moving back to Florida, I’ll never forget the advice I was given from a counselor who knew all that we had been through and all that was to come. He said, “Leave no stone unturned in an effort to find the help that you need for your family to thrive.”
That advice dove deep into my heart and mind and has been the energy that has provided me with perseverance when I have grown tired and weary in the face of opposition.
In this special needs life, there is great opposition. Some ignorant and some intentional. I have had to battle and advocate and be “the squeaky wheel that gets the oil” more times than I have felt comfortable. I have battled my own thoughts and the disagreement and disapproval of others. I have fought for 504’s, IEP’s, accommodations, explanations, appealed denied insurance claims, argued for the approval of services, jumped through hoops and over red tape all without an official job title even though more days than not it has felt like a full-time job.
But I have not done it without the support of other incredible women. From friends, to moms, to other “special needs mama’s,” to therapists, to doctors, psychologists and counselors. And above all, the Lord. He who made me in my mother’s womb, and made my children in mine. He who knows all of my days past and present, and the number of hairs on my head. He who has never forsaken me, loves me unconditionally, and teaches me how to do the same for my children.
So Mama- leave no stone unturned, find your people, and look up to the Lord- he sees you and hears you.