To the Mom Used to Doctors Telling Her She's Overreacting

Dear Maura,

You were right. No one would listen, and you were doubted — but you were right. When you told the doctor she wasn’t sitting up and the doctor told you to “make her,”  you were right. When she didn’t crawl and the doctor said, “Kids develop differently,” you were right. When you talked with the nurse at the pediatrician’s office and she said, albeit kindly, that you were overreacting and overanalyzing, know that you were right.

You are her mother. You know her better than anyone else on Earth. And it’s all — yes, all — going to be OK. Trust yourself and your intuition.

You will search and research and read and make appointment after appointment with specialist after specialist. They will all tell you a diagnosis isn’t necessary and that in another few years, things will iron out and it will be easier to diagnose her. The words “few years” sound like an eternity now, but the years do pass.

Don’t miss the good stuff. She is beautiful and sweet. She has an unmatched capacity for love. Listen to your husband’s counsel. Love how he loves her. Your husband and children will not cease to amaze you.

You are right — a diagnosis would make a lot of things easier. But she is unique. Although that makes a lot of things harder, the beauty of her soul will outshine all else. And I know that even if I tell you that you will not get that diagnosis, you’re not going to stop searching. Right now, you can’t. You won’t. You’re afraid of losing hope, but you will find hope in other things, not a few categorical words.

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People will continue to doubt your concerns. You will fight tooth and nail for every inch because you don’t have a phrase to describe her. Even those closest to you and those who have been through similar struggles will doubt you, which will be painful. They will come around. They will come to see you were right.

I’m not repeating, “You were right” in self-righteous arrogance. I say it to comfort you, to assuage your self-doubt and fear, to tell you to keep fighting for her and follow your maternal intuition. Trust yourself.

You will come to accept the fact that it is OK that she is not “normal” or “typical.” You will come to know that God made her exactly as she is supposed to be. There was no mistake or hiccup. She is who she is because this is who she has been becoming since He first knew her.

Accept help. You can’t do it all, and your other children need you too.

Pray. Make the time. It helps instantly, in the short term and in the long run. Nothing else has that much return on investment. And don’t be shy asking others to pray for you, especially when you feel like you can’t. You need it.

It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to get angry. But don’t dwell there.

Focus on the smiles from strangers, not the sneers. The sneers somehow feel like they stick to you more, but let them slide off. Maintain your inner joy, and set your sights on heaven so the smiles stick instead.

Even though today is not the day – that you still can’t use a few words to explain why she acts that way or does that thing or gets sick more easily or whatever – even though that day may never come, it is all going to be OK — because it has to be.  And because you choose it to be.



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