Becoming parents of any child opens a Pandora’s Box that challenges everything we thought we knew. Parenting a child with a disability can add a good dose of guilt (“Was it my faulty genetics?” “Was it something I did during pregnancy?” “Was it something I didn’t do in infancy?” “What did I miss?”). It can also bring a good dose of feeling powerless (“How do we do this?” “What does our child need?” “How do we find help?”).
In marriage, trying to stay united and on the same team is a challenge. Trying to stay goal-focused and child-focused is impossible. Sometimes, we have to step back and say, “I need to be the focus right now, for this minute and a half.” Or “Our marriage needs an hour.” Or “I want to focus on you for the next two songs!” Finding little connections throughout a busy life is hard, but so vital. So is listening. So is talking!
Good sleep is necessary for everyone to function–and a lack of it can have a profound effect on your marriage and parenting. Sometimes we parents are so focused on our child sleeping enough, that we forget about us. We need adequate rest to be effective. Chronic fatigue puts everyone at risk. It can cause more accidents and more mistakes. Especially if we’re giving our child medications or using feeding or breathing equipment. We need to be alert!
Therapy can also help your marriage. It can be a way for you and your partner to find more “space for love” in your relationship. Sometimes just taking that hour a week to look at each other and take time to “heal old stuff” is enough to get through a rough patch. It’s also a chance for each of you to take a look at yourself. What baggage and expectations are each of you bringing to the relationship?
Hopefully, we can find the ways that allow our relationship to be a support system in and of itself for our children and each other. Not the sole support, of course. There are two people here. That brings two ways of doing things, two ways of seeing things, and two sets of needs to consider. But there can also be one big love–a love that encompasses your child and each other.
Use this link to read the many parent articles on how to keep a strong marriage.
I was surprised how parenting a kid with intensive needs affected my relationship with my older children and my extended family.
Categories: Family Support