There is something I come across a lot in special needs support groups, too often. It’s that special needs parents have a hard time connecting with people. You see, shortly after our special needs child is born or diagnosed, it becomes very clear who is going to stick with us, and who is not. Whether it be our difficulty in getting out or our lack of desire to (germs!), or our busy schedules, I often see special needs mom’s post their desire to connect with people. We all have casual acquaintances, but I mean really connect, have a best friend.
I have a theory, I think they might be afraid to share the concerns and joys of their children for fear that we might think they are petty.
Yep that’s it, I’ve said it. It’s kind of an elephant in the room. Are your concerns, comparing your struggles with ours, what is keeping our relationship from developing?
I have seen it, parent starts with “He is a little behind in his reading…” only to have there sentence drown out an a look come across your face “Oh, well… it’s not at all like what you are dealing with.”
Heck, I even see this with other special needs moms who say “I know this is nothing like what many of you deal with but…” And then proceed with their question and concern.What? How many have just not asked for fear that it doesn’t compare with what the rest of the group is dealing with?
Let’s get it off the table. Parenting is not easy regardless of if you are raising a typical child, or one with special needs whether they be mild or severe. It’s hard, and you need someone to talk to. We want to be that person. We understand, many of us have other children and we get that something that is a challenge with them is a BIG deal and compared to everything else that they have personally been through? The BIGGEST deal.
I will forever be grateful to my friends who have gone the extra mile, tried that extra bit, or even worked hard to maintain our friendship after my little girl was born. It’s not easy, I know. But I love that they are willing to share their concerns without batting an eye knowing that I might be there with my other children or I might have a suggestion that could help. There is no comparison, there is no competition.
Not being able to share our concerns without having to worry about whether or not it will change our friendship stinks. We need someone to talk to too.
Please don’t let our children with special needs stand in the way of our friendship.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net