(Written by Orla Kelly) When I became a parent of a special needs child, nothing could prepare me for the emotional rollercoaster I would find myself on, a sea of ever changing emotions and quick sand I would step on every now and then that seemed to engulf me and I would feel like I was drowning. The worst part was I never knew if I should ask for help or just wish I would die.
Having spoken to many other parents of special needs children, there are so many things we all have in common regardless of social or financial circumstances, race, religion or demographics. The loneliness and isolation you feel when you first get a diagnosis and then and thereafter the level of emotions covering denial, anger, grief and depression. After what may seem like an eternity; you learn to laugh again, accept what is, become more spiritually aware and find the inner strength for empowerment.
Just learning how to cope with parenting special needs kids is a huge achievement in itself and we all use different things and have tried different things to help us be the very best parent we can be for our very precious special needs kids.
Here I am going to write about one specific way that many parents including myself cope with the realisation that I will be the most important person in my child’s life. A role where there is no holiday or retirement and a role that I neither chose for myself nor wished on my child.
I have chosen a number of inspirational quotes on parenting that I found meaningful and hope you can relate to and take something from at least some of them. They are in no particular order as one that I may use today will be replaced by another that means more on a particular day.
- 1. “Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.” -Franz Peter Schubert
I find this quote touching and poignant. To me this reflects everything about having a special needs child.
- 2. “What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
This teaches me that what is really important is what is within each of us. What happens around our special needs child is far less important than anything going on in the inside; this is where real life is happening!
- 3. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”- Albert Einstein
Again, by looking at your precious child as a miracle in action every single day, you will celebrate every accomplishment and every challenge they overcome with joy in your heart.
- 4. “Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace.” -Dalai Lama
This quote really speaks for itself. The words, actions and body language used by others either directed at your or your special needs child can hurt beyond belief. Recite this when you are feeling low and you will move away from this pain.
- 5. “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” -Bill Cosby
Trying to find something “light” to take from dark situations is something that requires practice but when you do, that heavy burden you carry eases and you will feel differently and act differently too.
- 6. “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” -Thomas Carlyle
None of us have all the answers. There is no crystal ball that will tell us the path that lies ahead for our kids. Take each day as it comes and try not to worry about what will happen the next day and the day after etc. There is only so much planning and anticipation you can do and things can change in a heartbeat. When you get to where you are supposed to be you will know what to do.
- 7. “Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Christopher Reeves
If things feel like they are falling apart, know that you are not alone. No one can touch the high expectations you put on yourself and the exceptional distance you go to with your special needs child to give them the best quality life they can possibly have. Hang in there and hold on. Your courageous dedication to your child is inspirational and is the highest form of love that anyone can share with another.
About the author, Orla Kelly:
I am a special needs parenting coach and worked successfully in private practice for more years than I would like to admit! I am now a full time mother to 2 lively kids who put me through a physical and mental workout each day! Writing and learning is a new passion of mine.
What time I have left out of being on call 24 hours a day is spent on special needs, an area close to my heart! If you would like more about being the best parent you can be to your special needs child, check the free guides.