16 Emotions Special Needs Parents Experience Every Day

If parenting is an emotional roller coaster, then parenting a child with special needs is an emotional roller coaster, Tilt-a-Whirl, Dare Devil Dive and ferris wheel combined into one intimidating but worthwhile ride. A ride we’re willing to buy tickets for every day.

Here are just a few emotions Mighty parents go through on the daily:

The pure joy of having brought this little human into the world.


Immense guilt over everything you think you’re doing wrong.


The sense of accomplishment that comes from overcoming obstacles. 


Frustrated by how difficult things can be sometimes.


Complete gratitude for the chance to parent someone so special. 


Confusion over everything from medical paperwork to therapy assignments.


Excitement over every hard-earned victory, no matter how small. 


Grumpy about all the battles you and your little one still have to fight. 


Giddy over the progress you’ve made thus far.


Devastated by the way the world can’t always accept your child as easily as you’d like. 


But optimistic about the future. 


Angry over how much time your kid spends in therapy or at doctor’s offices. 


Utterly exhausted by all the emotions you’re feeling all the time (and, oh yeah, no sleep).


Half-convinced you’re not cut out for this.


Simultaneously confident in your ability to endure whatever comes your way. 


And last but not least — full of love. More of it than you ever thought possible. 

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

When a Stranger in an Old Navy Parking Lot Quite Simply Changed My Life

That damn teddy bear nearly ruined my morning. Sitting front and center inside the doors of Old Navy, it proudly flaunted its blue scarf and beckoned to be cuddled. It was at least as big as my 2-year-old son so, naturally, he just had to have it. “Honey, we aren’t getting a teddy bear today,” I feebly [...]

To the Physical Therapist Who Gave Me Something I Didn't Know I Needed

We were sitting in a conference room, hearing the results of the evaluation of our 3-year-old daughter. We were dazed. We couldn’t process what they were saying. We’d come for a speech evaluation from the early elementary special education department because we’d been paying for private speech therapy and heard we may qualify for free services. That [...]
Michael and his wife with their son on his graduation day

The Email I Would Have Written Myself the Day Before My Son Was Born

Somewhere over the last 22 years, I lost the yearning to dream about what life would be like had Ben been born without complex physical and communication challenges. There was a period when I constantly wanted to press the rewind button to return to a simpler time, to before Ben was part of our world, [...]

25 Brilliant Pieces of Non-Medical Advice We've Heard From Doctors

We expect our doctors to give us medical advice. But sometimes, detailed instructions, big words we don’t know, science talk and “Look! I went to medical school!” language is the last thing you need when facing a diagnosis. If you’re lucky, your doctor understands this. We polled our Facebook followers for their favorite pieces of non-medical advice their doctors have given [...]