It’s been a while now since I have written any advice for special needs moms. A lot of that is because my boys are both more than old enough to read and process the things I write and I am sensitive to how they perceive things. But the one thing I know for sure (in the words of Oprah) is that a special needs mom (or ANY parent) HAS to follow their gut. Its the one thing that you were given that is more valuable than any doctor has or any medical book could ever teach.
I learned when my youngest (born with spina bifida) was just 4 months old that doctors didn’t know everything about him that I did. He needed a shunt (a device that drains extra fluid off the brain) surgery and they kept saying no. They were experimenting, seeing how far they could push the limits. I knew what he needed in my gut and one day that I will never forget I packed him up and demanded they admit him for the surgery. Everyone thought I was nuts. Turns out my little guy who could never open his hands came out of surgery with them open. Right there I got my power and knew if I did nothing else in all of this mess I knew I had to follow my gut.
In his almost 17 years there have been thousands of times when I have just had to take a deep breath and listen to that inner voice-big things like should we homeschool, or be the 5th kid (or the 11th or the 7th) to do a major surgery, should we fly all over tarnation to pursue things our local docs laughed at? All of which were YES. E.V.E.R.Y time I operate from my gut it has turned out well for us and when I doubt a decision, it usually means its not right at this time. It’s my one super power in all of this, and guess what? You have it, too. You just need to trust it. When you are scared and confused and not sure which life threatening choice to make next-take a drive to a scenic place or go out in your backyard when the kids are down for a nap and just BE. Just let all the thoughts clear out of your head and listen to what your gut is telling you. Sometimes it takes a while to hear it but its screaming at you. I promise. You just need to clear out the other noise so you can hear it.
Sadly, there have been many times I didn’t go with my gut. I didn’t listen to me but instead listened to the experts. I have had to learn to forgive myself for those decisions. It’s a powerful thing as a special needs parent to just forgive yourself. It’s too easy at times to listen to the white coats that know it all with all their degrees on the wall. Unfortunately, no one gives us fancy degrees that say “Degree in Being a Kick-Butt Special Needs Parent”. In fact…we need this…
When you forgive yourself you take back your power to course correct. You can start again and make new choices. Find new docs, new treatments, new answers. You won’t always be right. But you will always try. And that is all any of us can really do. Try to be the best parent we can every day and try not to hate ourselves when we inevitably make mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to get it right.
Disclosure: I wrote this sponsored post by Verizon and their #SwitchersRemorse campaign. Hopefully, you are a Verizon customer to begin with and don’t have #SwitchersRemorse but if you are in need of a course correction they’re making it easy for you to switch back – check here.