You’ve dealt with the shock. You’ve understood the grief of unmet expectations. You’ve conquered the resentment, the fear, the guilt, and you’ve bonded with your special needs child. It’s been a long road up to this point, and yet you suddenly realize you’re just at the beginning!
The stages of grief have run their course and reality has finally set in. You are now ready to start figuring out just how to start living your life with your special needs child. But now a million questions start to enter your mind: who will help us, what doctors do we need to see, where are they located, when will I have time to do all this and still care for my other children, how will we be able to afford the medical expenses? Don’t worry those are all fair questions that all mothers ask themselves.
Begin with a little research. Find out everything you can about your child’s disability. Knowledge is power, and you need all the power you can get right now. Learning is going to be your key to success. Remember, putting knowledge into practice produces wisdom. You will be your child’s biggest advocate.
You will want to research pediatricians to find the right one for your special needs child. There are some questions that need to be asked when picking a pediatrician for your child.
Your child’s doctor will have some information that will be helpful to you and your family. Start searching the internet for any and all advice you can then sort through and apply and help you to cope with the specific needs of your child. Keep in mind that some advice is not applicable to your situation, and to only use the advice that works for you and your baby.
While searching for information, be sure to find support for yourself and your family. Support groups can be quite helpful to those in your situation. Remember that support groups are not all about sitting in a circle and venting your frustrations, though that is an important aspect of the group. Support groups afford new parents tips for coping, information on how to efficiently and effectively care for your child. The extended family, such as grandparents and aunts and uncles will need to be informed and trained in aspects of interacting with your special needs child. A support group can offer contact information to accomplish this.
One of the most important things you will do is to make contact with trustworthy sources that can provide quality care for your child. Most daycare providers are not properly trained to care for special needs children. Your doctor, therapist, social worker, or support group will likely have information that will help you obtain someone to care for your child in your absence that you can fully trust.
You may feel like your entire life has been taken over by this new and unexpected development in your life. You have control over whether this actually becomes true or not. It is important for you to remember there are other family members to nurture. If you have older children, make opportunities to spend individual time with each child, and also time when the whole family interacts with one another. Keep having date night with your spouse.
But above all don’t forget yourself. You need to take care of yourself, so you can care for your other members. Don’t neglect your needs make an appointment for that pedicure or girls night out. You must remember that your child is counting on you. You cannot afford to neglect your own needs. If you want to be there for your child, you must remember to take care of yourself!