One of my best friends is a doctor. Sometimes she and I talk about the trends she sees in her clinic. Is she treating a lot of stomach bugs, drug addictions, weight issues, etc.?
The other day we were having this chat and talking about our own demographic—30 to 50-year-old moms, especially stay-at-home moms. She told me what she sees most is that these moms are being treated for depression.
She said it’s always the same thing. These women come in and talk about feeling like everyone is judging them because their kid is not doing enough, or doing too much. They worry that they are not doing a good enough job and that their kids are going to grow up and be jerks or doormats. Or that they feel like their husbands are bored with them and don’t find them attractive anymore.
What my friend said next really stuck with me because she said exactly what I was thinking. “These women all come in complaining about things I feel, too.” We all have these feelings and concerns.
My friend went on to tell me that in addition to having concerns and stresses like every other mom, these women also are all ashamed. They feel shame in having these feelings, and for needing medical help to overcome them. The shame adds to their negative feelings and makes them even more stressed and anxious.
I thought a lot about this conversation. I realized this applies not to just moms who have a child with a disability, but to all moms. Sure, what we stress about may be a little different. Maybe the moms of typical kids stress about their kids always being picked last for teams, or that their kid is very dominating, or that their kid may be bordering on becoming a bully.
The typical stresses and worries of a mom who has a child with a disability sound more like “Am I doing enough. Am I doing too little?” or “Will he or she be okay. Will they be able to make friends and fit in?” The bottom line is that we all worry about how we are raising our kids. There is no shame in that.
I think if we all try a little harder to lift each other up, and admit that none of us has all the answers, maybe we can even give ourselves a little break. We are all doing the best we can, and it’s okay to need some help—even medical help—along the way.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family. Read more in this self-care section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.