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What Special Needs Moms Need to Hear From Their Husbands

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Mothers of children with special needs often cope with the stress and difficulties differently than their husbands. It’s hard for us husbands to show our pain and frustration in similar ways. However, we do feel it.

This is what I want to tell my amazing wife, Becky:

I know how frustrated you feel when family and friends don’t understand why our 7-year-old, Sophia, can’t potty-train and remains in diapers, and how crushing it is to have to change her on the floor of a restaurant bathroom. 

I know how weak you feel waking up in the middle of the night because, again, Sophia can’t sleep through an entire night, and you don’t want to wake me because I have to work early in the morning.

I know how alone you must feel when I’m at work and you’re left to manage outbursts, hitting, screaming, pulling hair and spitting — something she seems to reserve just for you.

I know how defeated you must feel when a simple grocery store trip turns into a thousand apologies to those around you when Sophia grabs and spits on them.

I know how empty it must leave you feeling when it takes you saying “I love you” a hundred times just to get one in return.

I know how irritating it must be to have to make pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for Sophia and continually hear the same phrase over and over again.

I know how unloved you must feel when I get home and don’t spend time having adult conversation with you.

I know these things because I feel them, too. I try so hard to be strong for you when you feel weak because I don’t want to let you down, but I’m afraid it comes off as insensitive. All this time, I thought I needed to be the strong one, but you’ve taught me something much more important. Strength comes through the ability to be vulnerable, a characteristic I deeply struggle with. When I’m busy being strong, I miss the opportunity to join you in your sorrow.

We both know there are many wonderful qualities to enjoy and experience with Sophia. However, I believe there are also times to be sad and grieving that our child is not average. I know how difficult it is watching another birthday go by for Sophia and not seeing the progress we have so longed for.

I want to join in your pain so you don’t go through this alone. I need you, and we need each other. I’m so sorry I can’t express myself and show you better the way you do with me. I just want you to know that I know.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: November 9, 2015
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