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3 Things Every Special Needs Mom Should Hear

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Dear mother of a child with special needs,

Maybe you’re feeling a little bit beyond exhausted right about now. Sometimes life can get overwhelming. Most of the time it seems like each day is an uphill climb. But Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and in case the people in your life aren’t able to express this, I hope you’ll allow me to say it on their behalf.

As someone who fit into the category of a “special needs child” growing up, I know each family’s situation is unique. We all face different conditions, and even they can look a little different on each person. Our circumstances and experiences aren’t exactly the same. However, there are three things I think every special needs mother should hear this Mother’s Day (and every day).

1. Thank you.

It’s not said enough to any mom and certainly not to you. Mothers are already the superheroes of the world, but you take it a step further. You keep things together when it’s bursting at the seams. You take care of everyone when they can’t take care of themselves. You make up the difference when the people around you can’t do all that they want to help out. Without you, things likely wouldn’t keep moving forward.

It was probably terrifying to learn of your child’s unique situation, and I know that disability, disease and illness make life more complicated at times. Still, you face all of it. Maybe it seems like it goes unnoticed or for different reasons it may not always be expressed, but all you do means everything to the people in your life – especially to your child.

2. You’re the reason why their world is safer.

Now, as a 20-something adult, sometimes I think I’ve got it together and can take care of myself. I thought I would totally be OK in the hospital by myself for some of the time when I had my first non-pediatric in-patient experience recently. But it was a different story once I got there. It wasn’t because I didn’t have confidence in the nurses or doctors – they were all great. It was because having mom around still and always will just make the world feel safer. I know that when I’m too sick or exhausted to speak up for myself, she won’t hesitate to make sure I’m taken care of.

No matter what stage of motherhood you’re in, you are the reason why your child’s world is safer. You make sure they receive the care they need. When doctors don’t understand or don’t have the answers, you don’t give up. When the world around your child looks too challenging and impossible, you find a way for them to experience all the important things in life. You’re always their biggest advocate. And you’ll continue to be, as they follow your example and learn to love themselves just as fiercely as you have.

Even if your child is not here on this earth with you anymore, you still continue to make the world a safer place. As you share their memory and raise awareness, you continue to give their memory a home, and you’re making it safer for all the other kids who will come along after them.

3. You’re doing a great job.

You’re not just doing your best and you’re not just getting by. You’re doing great. I hope you’ll always remember. When things get tough and everything looks discouraging, when you’re not always sure if you’re making the right choice or doing the right thing, please have confidence in your love for your child and your understanding of their situation. You are Mom, and only you can be the expert of that position. No one else. You do your job as only you can, and no other way would be acceptable. You get the gold star for showing up every morning, afternoon, night, overnight and everything else in between. Your only goal is to do what’s best for your child, and I see that, even if everyone else cannot always. Trust that you’re succeeding.

You’ve got this.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Originally published: May 2, 2016
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