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Please Believe Me When I Say 'Don't Be Sorry' About My Son With Special Needs

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My son Rick was born six months ago. Typically six months doesn’t seem that long. But when you or a loved one is sick or your health is failing, six months can seem like a lifetime.

And it seems like the person I was six months ago is just a distant memory.

Rick’s birth forever changed me, and it forever changed my family. Most would agree that a new baby changes everything. I admit I felt like I experienced that when my daughter was born. She made me a mom.

Rick made me a better person, a better version of myself. His beginning tested me in every way imaginable and tore down walls I didn’t know existed. I was wrecked to the point that I wasn’t sure if there was anything left of me.

But now I’m stronger. Stronger in my convictions, stronger in my confidence, stronger in my ability to stand up for my son and ask necessary questions, and, most importantly, stronger in my faith.

author and her baby

When acquaintances or patients learn I have a son who was born with special needs, the typical response is “I’m sorry.” I understand their compassion and sometimes pity. Their response comes from love, and they have the best of intentions. I’m confident I reacted that way to people in the past in difficult situations.

But now that I’ve started putting myself back together piece by piece, “I’m sorry” isn’t necessary.

Rick has changed me and every single interaction I have. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for him, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

While there were dark moments of pain, fear, unstoppable tears and horrible nightmares, I hesitate, but I would go through it all over again. I’m not saying I wouldn’t change anything, I’m saying you don’t get rainbows without rain.

A friend’s wise words helped bring me additional perspective: “Rick just is who he is supposed to be.”

I’m incredibly happy with life these days. I know there will be challenges ahead with valleys, but I know I have the gifts and the people in my life who will get me through anything.

Please believe me when I say “Don’t be sorry” when you learn I have a special son.

baby next to teddy bear holding "6 months" sign

Originally published: February 27, 2016
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