Dear New Mom of a Child with Special Needs

Dear new mom,

Hi! Nice to meet you. Welcome to the club! I’ve been in this club for almost 30 years, so any thoughts or feelings you may have, I totally understand.

Although you never planned on joining, we welcome you with love, and empathy and a heartfelt hug. We will stand by you and guide you as you need. Always know, we are here for you. You may lose your ‘normal’ friends but here, you will gain a family. We will always be by your side.

I’ve developed this handy list for you. In it, are tips to help you along your journey with your beautiful little one. Feel free to add to the list as you see fit because someday you’ll be the one to help a scared, new mom.

1. Take a deep breath.

It’s true. Every now and then, you will feel overwhelmed. A few deep breaths will give you some time to recenter and start fresh. When you least feel like doing this, is the time you will need it most.

2. Set aside some time every day for fun.

You will be very busy with therapies, doctor appointments, and everything developmental. All children need down time and so do moms and dads. Just relax and have fun. Make sure you do this every day – No pressure, just fun. And don’t sneak anything educational in!

3. It’s okay to have cereal for dinner.

It happens. One thing leads to another and all of a sudden it’s past dinnertime. Cereals are vitamin fortified, you know, so go for it! Don’t feel guilty and don’t, by all means, throw in vegetables! Think of it this way, it’s better than fast food! Enjoy every crunchy spoonful, too.

4. Don’t feel guilty.

This is a hard one. All moms feel guilty sometimes. Having a child with special needs increases this probability. The truth is, there is no guidebook for your little one and you’re doing your best. When you feel that guilt feeling creeping in, know this: Nobody’s perfect and nobody will do a better job than you.

5. Don’t live in the ‘What if” world.

“What if he could talk?” “What if she never walks?” “What if, what if, what if?” Believe me, nothing comes of this. Take one day at a time and keep doing what you’re doing, which leads me to the next tip,

6. Take one day at a time.

This is very important. Don’t spend hours and days thinking about the future. Each day prepares you for the next, and whatever you may be worrying about today will probably never happen. Instead, go hug that beautiful little one and enjoy this moment. Go, now!

7. Laugh.

C’mon. There’s always something to laugh about. Frequently, things will happen and in the moment, it’s not funny. Looking back at these moments though, can be quite funny. Well look back now! If something is happening now that you’ll laugh about later, why wait? It’ll make your days so much more fun!

8. It’s okay to have a messy house.

Kids only stay little for a short while. Before you know it, you’ll have all the time in the world to clean up the house and no little ones around to hug and love and play with. Also, refer back to #4.

9. Don’t take things personally.

Here’s the truth. People are going to say things or do things related to your child that will make you sad and angry. While it’s hard not to react, refer to #1, and know that other people’s behavior is a reflection of them and has nothing to do with your baby. Stand tall, Mama! Also know that there are many, many more people out there that are really nice and genuinely care.

10. Pat yourself on the back.

Do this every day. You are doing a great job.

 

Here’s the thing. When you look back, you’ll want to remember the good stuff. Now is your chance to create that.

 

With love,

A mom who has been through it

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