Do you feel anger, jealousy, and resentment because your child isn’t who you dreamed of when you thought about being a parent? Do you feel way over your head and that you and your child have been short-changed due to a medical diagnosis? Grieving over a life you prepared for and fantasized about is totally normal and actually very healthy. Us moms feel such shame around grieving because we are supposed to be thankful for what we have. But sometimes life has other plans, and we are just along for the ride.
Is Grieving Okay?
When you are getting ready to have a baby, you are so excited about getting ready for this new little person, and you dream of everything that you want to do with them. But when your child turns into something that you didn’t expect, it’s a big blow. When you get the report that your child has autism, or that your child has seizures and there is no cure, you have to re-learn how to raise your child without a guide book.
Every mom who has a child with a neurological disability, autism, epilepsy, etc., grieves. It is because of fear of the unknown and sadness that our child may suffer and we don’t know how to help them. We are angry that all the dreams we had might never happen and we feel worried that life will be harder than our children and we can handle.
Grieving doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child and that you think there is something wrong with them, or that you aren’t going to do everything in your power to give them happiness. But grieving is for us because if we can’t grieve, we can never get to acceptance and can never be the mother that our child needs.
Why Denial Hurts Us and Our Children
If we spend all our time and energy in a state of resistance, we can never have the strength we need, or our children need to thrive in life. The first stage of grief and what this episode is about is denial. Denial comes in all shapes and sizes and is a natural defense mechanism to protect us. Sometimes the fear is so great, that denial is a way that makes us not have to face the fear. The goal is to recognize the areas that we really shouldn’t ignore and realize we are stronger than we think, and we find the answers along the way.
If we stay in denial about our children and don’t test our child, get them a diagnosis or put them in treatment, then as they get older there are a lot of things that become much harder to fix. If we are in such denial about things when they are little, then when they are older there is much less you can do about it.
I totally get it. The fear can be so great that you don’t want to face it. When you are looking at things with your child that are overwhelming and too scared to admit that certain behaviors might be a problem, sometimes if you deal with them they might not be as bad as you think.
What The First Step Is
The very first step is to put awareness around what you are in denial about. Try to say what it is you are scared about with your child. It is a really good first step. When you can say what you are afraid of, often that fear will lessen. And once you realize that maybe it isn’t as large as you think it is, then you can figure out what steps you need to take right now. Maybe the first step is to just make yourself aware that you are scared. And that is okay! The next step will reveal itself to you.
When you can heal and allow your feelings to be there, and go through all the stages, each new stage that comes up you won’t stay in as long. Give yourself grace for feeling how you feel. At first, everything feels so overwhelming, but it gets easier and easier as time goes on.
Why I Am Doing This Podcast
The reason I am doing this podcast is because I had a PROFOUND event happen in my journey of being a special needs parent that changed my life completely. I went from being utterly miserable, worried, filled with anxiety, jealous, confused, overwhelmed and afraid to complete and total acceptance.
When I was able to accept that my daughter had epilepsy and autism and that life was going to look different for us, it changed the way I parented, it washed my fear away, and it made my soul calm and rested. Acceptance gave me hope and excitement and filled me with unconditional love. Love for myself and my daughter and the situation. It made me appreciate the journey and what it’s here to teach me and the world and gave me the answer to the questions, “Why this disease and autism for Remy? Why me? Why anyone?”
This was 2 years ago, and ever since then, I want EVERYONE who is raising a child with extra needs to come to the point of complete and total acceptance. You deserve a life of joy and happiness even though it looks different than you thought. But before we get there, we have to walk through the crummy stages first.
How To Climb The Mountain Of Special Needs Parenting
We look at this huge mountain and we try to avoid it. But all you have to do is take the first step. Progress equals happiness. You don’t have to get to the end goal immediately. We are all on this journey together. We’ve all been there or are going through it, but we all come out on the other side.
If you are afraid to tell someone, it’s okay for you to be where you are, but try telling one person that you haven’t told and see how that feels. If that feels okay, then maybe you can tell someone else and so on. When you can face something as big as your child having special needs, that is huge, and that is the evolution of parenthood.
- Grieving over a life you prepared for and fantasized about for your child is totally normal and actually very healthy. It is important to accept what has happened, and often we have to feel sad and scared about it first in order to get there.
- Grieving doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child and that you think there is something wrong with them. You are still going to do everything in your power to give them happiness, you just have to work on finding that happiness for yourself too.
- If we spend all our time and energy in a state of resistance, we can never have the strength we need, or our children need to thrive in life. By staying in a state of denial, it harms us because we are unable to work towards things that can help make life better and easier for us and our children.
- Try to put awareness about what you are afraid of for your child. That is an amazing first step to working through your feelings of denial. Say something that scares you, and it won’t seem so scary once you say it aloud.
- All you have to do is take one step at a time. So many people have gone through what you are going through and they have made it to the other side. It just starts with one step.