November is the month of “Gratitude” for many in the United States. We sit around a table with family and friends, and we reflect and celebrate the gratitude and thanks we feel for our lives. Our social media feeds fill up with “30 days of Thanks” posted by friends and family.
People all over are finding ways to be thankful for their lives. Parents raising children with disabilities can feel defeated and depressed because of all the challenges their children face. Children with disabilities are often on the fringe of society, the mainstream ignores our families, and we have to fight for our children to get services, therapy, and medical care.
There is no doubt that parenting a child with a disability has its share of pain and suffering. However, there is also a hidden feature that many of us rarely discuss. Parenting children with disabilities gives the parent the opportunity to change their framework and worldview completely.
We can look at things we never noticed before and see things in a new light. Our hearts are filled with successes we never thought possible, and we find ourselves enveloped in a community of other moms that are there to cheer us on.
Today, we share the six reasons we are grateful for raising a child with a disability.
When you parent a child with special needs, life has a way of slowing down. Our children don’t always reach milestones at the same time. We deal with adversity regarding the care of our children. Having a child with disabilities help most of us foster a sense of patience we never thought possible.
We have to learn to accept that our children’s development is on their timeline. By slowing down and watching our children take their time, we see the world in its glory. Our ability to manage challenging behaviors, developmental disabilities, and medical emergencies increase with each therapy appointment we attend.
Most of us didn’t possess the skills on how to fight and demand care or treatment for our children before they were born. Advocacy is not a skill most of us possessed before our children. Our children’s unique needs motivate all of us to fight for their inclusion in society.
We fight for education rights, medical treatment, to reach milestones, and to find the resources to manage their long-term care. Many of our children are non-verbal or have communication disorders, and we have to learn to become their voice.
By learning and mastering advocacy, we begin to increase our self-esteem and knowledge of the world around us. We can become mentors to other parents we meet. Additionally, we are given the unique opportunity to change the world for our children and future generations.
The disability community is one of the most complex and confusing places for many parents to encounter. We are unable to understand the language, the equipment, the care, and the resources needed to help our children. Most of us feel ill-equipped to navigate this world.
In these strange and dark times, we find our fantastic community. We meet other mothers raising children like our kids. Together we foster a unique and unbreakable bond. Our sisters in parenting link arms with us, they teach us about resources, equipment, medical care, and the educational rights of our children.
Other mothers cheer us on in our most desperate times. They listen to our struggles. The community of mothers raising children with disabilities is a tribe that is inclusive, accepting, and willing to help one another succeed. This tribe is by far one of the reasons most of us are grateful to be here.
Children and adults with disabilities find themselves on the fringe of society. Our children face discrimination, bullying, and ignorance of others around us every day.
Our children become targets for bullies in schools. Often our kids are the most vulnerable population in our society. We learn very quickly to be the best parent we have to learn to accept all people.
Many of us become more open-minded and willing to take all humans for who they are despite their limitations. Due to our new perspective, we can empathize with all people that face discrimination. This acceptance and change of our worldview enable us to fight for the rights of our children.
Our Kids –
The reason all of us are here is because we are parents to children with special needs. We are here because we love and adore our children.
Their lives give us purpose, make us smile, and fill our hearts with joy and happiness. They are the reason we keep going on the darkest days. When everything around us feels hopeless, it is the love we have for our children that gives us the strength to keep fighting.
Our love and hope for them to have a meaningful future are what drives us to be the best we can be. We are marveled at our strength, but we know the real power is found in the hearts of our kids. Each day we see them beat odds, reach a milestone, and exceed expectations that experts put before them. Our children are the real heroes of this story.
When you entered this world of special needs parenting, you had no idea what to expect. The most significant gifts in this journey are that your child has changed you into a better person.
On our most desperate days, we struggle to remember why we are grateful. The reason we are thankful is that we have patience, acceptance, advocacy, perspective, community, and our amazing kids. Hold tight to that gratitude as you navigate the rest of the year.
We challenge all of you to find something to be grateful for each day.
You Got this, mommas!
You Got this!