Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

A New Me - Reinventing One’s Self

06/09/2015 | Published by: Barbara Knighton

It has long been said that people can't change.  This may be true, but sometimes people are forced to change.  A tragedy often leaves people with a different outlook on life and makes them have to change to adapt.

Can a tragic event truly change who you are?  From my point of view it can.  I had a very normal, calm life before my son was born.  I enjoyed a budding career, personal freedom and lots of travel. 

I was a very different, carefree woman back then.  I was selfish, materialistic and self-centered.  I was used to coming and going as I pleased and spending time with my husband.  Then in a matter of 27 hours all of that changed. 

My son was born early via emergency c-section due to my blood pressure being dangerously high.  Unfortunately, my son was affected greatly - the damage to his brain had already been done.  It took some time for me to get well and for my son to be released from the hospital. 

All of a sudden I was faced with dealing with a very medically fragile child, postpartum depression and the loss of my freedom.  I was tossed into a world that was no longer about me, but all about my child.  I spent day after day in doctors’ offices and hospital waiting rooms.  I became a frequent tenant of the Ronald McDonald House. 

I soon realized that the life I knew was gone and possibly never coming back.  I literally buried the old me and began stumbling along the path of life to reinvent the new me.  After focusing solely on my son's needs for three years, I came to the conclusion that it was time to start focusing on some of my own needs, both physical and mental. 

I finally realized that my old career had ended and I had begun multiple new ones - caretaker, advocate and parent leader.  I also knew that if I did not create something to focus on other than my son's needs, I would end up in a very bad place. 

So I became a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge about his diagnosis and the resources that were out there.  I became actively involved in the disability community.  I attended conferences, support group meetings, workshops and trainings.  I eventually formed my own support group for parents of children with disabilities. 

I figured that if this was my new life, I was going to be well informed and help others while helping myself.  So far it has been a challenging but rewarding ride.  I am more confident about advocating for my son's needs and I’ve made some lasting friends along the way.  With every person I meet and every conference I attend, I always learn something new.  I know that I will never fully comprehend all that is out there and that I still have a lot to learn, but I will make sure that I am the best new me that I can be. 

Be sure to check our Find Services, Groups & Events page on this website for information about parent groups and conferences. You can also see more ideas and opportunities on our Connecting with Other Parents page.