Stacy Warden

@stacy-warden | contributor
Stacy Warden is a in-home parent CNA, who worked in the legal profession in District Court prior to the birth of her first son, Noah, who suffered a birth injury resulting in global brain damage.  She has two young sons, Noah and Luke. Noah has severe spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy with athetoid movements. Noah loves cheesecake, airplanes and cartoon t-shirts. Luke admires his older brother and is always eager to assist him so they can play together. Stacy’s passion since Noah’s birth has shifted towards advocating for those with special needs and offering encouragement and inspiration for life’s often unexpected journey. She constantly craves coffee and enjoys quiet walks with her boys, while finding pleasure with the simple things in life. When she’s not hunting a Starbucks drive-thru, she is flipping through Irish and English recipe books in search of the next best dish. You can find her at Noah’s Miracle (http://www.noahsmiracle.blogspot.com)
Stacy Warden

Letter to a Newborn Child With Special Needs, From Mother

Dear Sweet Child, Today a fighter was born. You. Yes, you. The sweetest, tiniest, most precious little soul. You are strong, brave and full of courage. I’d like to welcome you to the world and tell you a little about what to expect on your journey. It may be a confusing time for you. Machines monitoring your progress, your parents’ tears falling gently upon your delicate skin and doctors swirling around you. Never fear, you are loved. You will soon find clarity and your purpose. Life for you will be a little different than it is from most. You see, you were born special. There will be days in your life when you will reach for the stars and other days when you will feel defeated no matter how hard you try. There will be triumphs and celebrations and at times unexpected set-backs. Your life will be a tender balance of difficulties and joy. But you will undoubtedly do amazing things. You have a gift to light up dark rooms, to speak without words, to inspire others and to demonstrate unconditional love. But the world won’t always make it easy for you to shine like the star you were born to be. There will be times when you are met with cruelty. Stares, hurtful words, uneducated people and those who cannot yet see the beauty that is before them. It may make you feel lonely or worthless, but you must remember you are far from those things. Your heart will be wounded at times, but you need to know you are never alone. Because your heart is so big, you’ll be quick to forgive. You’ll teach more lessons in one minute than some can learn in a lifetime. The world around you will occasionally be complicated and messy. You may hear predictions about your destiny and have expectations placed upon you. Remember you are defined by none of it. There are no limits to what you can achieve and accomplish. No one can determine what you will be capable of during your journey. You will be a surprise each day to those around you. There may be scary and hard times too. You may experience a multitude of medical procedures, endure countless hours of therapy and even accumulate various types of assistive devices to help you along in your day. There will be a team of those loving you through those times, and they will bring you comfort to see you through all of it. You are going to do so much with your time here. It is not about what you can do or can’t do that will define your life. Spreading love will be your specialty. You may encounter hate, spite and ignorance, but the love within you will be stronger than all of it. We’re really glad you’re here. Your life brings so much value to the world. You might need a pep talk sometimes and that’s OK. We all need that from time to time. But no matter what, remember never give up hope that things will be better tomorrow. For now, remember this: When you feel low on smiles and you feel it’s over before you’ve had a chance to begin, dig deep and remember your purpose. Laugh loud, live in the moment and dream big and most of all remember you matter in this world. Love, Stacy, Chris, Noah and Luke This post originally appeared on Noah’s Miracle.

Stacy Warden

Here's Why Cerebral Palsy Awareness Is Necessary

It’s been almost six years of my son, Noah’s journey with cerebral palsy. Noah is cognitively aware that he’s trapped in a challenged body — a voice that wants to get out, a body that craves to move and a desire to demonstrate his perseverance. He now understands the difference of being loved and being shunned by others. Which makes it more important than ever to spread awareness about his diagnosis and what that means for him and others affected by CP. Battling rejection is hard for any of us. It can be incredibly damaging on your self-esteem. We can quickly convince ourselves of lies that are fed to us by the suggestion of others:  “I’m not loved,” “I’m not accepted,” “I’m not worthy,” “I’m broken,” “I’m ugly.” When this happens it can cause emotional wounds that are sometimes hard to overcome. It’s even harder for a child with a disability, who’s fighting an uphill battle physically, to feel as if the world not only has this negative perception about you but also refuses to accept you just the way you are.  A child who understands what you’re saying, even though he cannot verbally respond. A child who notices your stares but lacks the ability to to reach out and hold your hand to show you he’s a precious human being. A child who cannot run or walk to prove he’s worthy of being considered an equal to your own typical child. That child, that amazing wonderful child is my son, Noah. “When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” — Jodi Picoult I find myself no longer able to protect Noah from his understanding of the cruelty that others can aim in his direction. All I can do is encourage him not to fall pray to the population who doesn’t yet understand his disability and realize that cerebral palsy is secondary to the incredible little guy he really is. World CP Day grows more important for us as a family each year. By bringing awareness to what CP is, how it affects a person and what that means for them and for others around them is critical. If you can sway just one person to change their perspective of someone they see with CP, how they treat and act around someone with CP, to educate them that CP is not a disease and nothing to be feared — then that is one less person who has the power to reject someone like Noah. Noah deserves to be valued. Spreading awareness is so important. Awareness = Love = Acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you deny that Noah has a severe disability; it simply means that you accept him regardless of his disability. You are able to see that while he’s different, he’s not less. Acceptance means you acknowledge that he’s worthy of being loved, of having great value in this world. Acceptance means you don’t need to say something nasty or mean and stare but rather approach him with love and encouragement. Acceptance means you don’t fear what you don’t understand or aren’t familiar with. We each have the power to make a difference in the life of another. And awareness is key. This post originally appeared on Noah’s Miracle. Find more World Cerebral Palsy Day posts. Like us on Facebook.