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When You Get Your Child's Diagnosis, Remember This

When we have children, we have plans.

They’re not even out of the womb, and we have plans. God, did we have so many plans. To think back, we parents started planning our future and future of the little human we carried the minute we found out we had created something wonderful.

We had all these hopes and dreams that we wanted for our little one. Maybe the next President of the United States or a professional sports player. Or maybe just a decent human being who we as parents could be proud of in our old age. All these plans we put into place when we started having our kids.

So what happens when you have something that puts roadblocks in front of your plans — those little things life throws at you, just to make things interesting?

I’m not going lie or sugarcoat things. When a parent is sitting in a doctor’s office hearing news that will forever change not only their life but the life of their child, there is a range of emotions that occur. No parent wants to hear there’s something ultimately wrong with their child. Whether it be a disease, a syndrome or a disorder. It doesn’t matter how big or how small this thing is, it’s a game changer. You look at this child, this sweet, sweet child, and all of us think to ourselves, quietly, “Why them? Why does it have to be them?”

We have our periods of disbelief. We can’t fathom just what this means. And there are some of us who refuse to acknowledge what’s going on. We see those plans we hoped and dreamed about flash before us, and it’s almost like watching a balloon float into the sky. We try to grasp at it, but it’s beyond our reach. We’re all but lost to our emotions and that sense of dread. Most of us grieve, not for the child, but for what the foreseeable future will hold for them. We grieve for the battles they will have to fight, as we know it’s a cruel, cruel world out there. These feelings are very common when parents get news about their child that alters the way they will have to live their lives.

It’s OK. It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to be sad. It’s going to be hard, but you will get through this. 

At times, when we get news about our children we want to know everything there is to know about what is affecting them. And we want to know how we can fix it. But for some, it isn’t an issue of fixing it, it’s the way to live with something. It’s how to adapt. Work with something rather than against it. Sometimes that means more doctor appointments, medication or just changing your lifestyle to include every aspect of your child. Beyond the labels, there’s still this child who needs to grow and prosper.

The important thing to remember is that when you get difficult news that concerns your child, they’re still the same child who you look upon with wonder. They’re still the same child who pushes your buttons. They’re still that little human who made you parents in the first place. And without them, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be selfless or compassionate. They’re the ones who teach us how to fight.

You haven’t stopped being their parent or loving them any less. Now, instead of playing that one game you know the rules to, you’re just playing a different game, with slightly different rules.

But the team is still the same.

This post originally appeared on Spouse, Kids and Special Needs Aren’t Issued in a Seabag?

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