I remember how often I lied when people kindly said, “You’re taking care of yourself, right? You know your son depends on you and you have to take care of yourself for him!”
My answer was always, “Sure!” but under my breath, it was “Yeah, right!”
My son was a micro-preemie and after many ups-and-downs was coming home after almost six months in the hospital, I was pumping breast milk every 2 hours (or at least was supposed to be), contracting out our dream home, and my husband and I were the finish contractors. Taking care of myself? In whose dreams?
Unfortunately, I found out the hard way what happens when I do not take care of myself: bouts of depression that can last 4 to 6 months and loss of myself—who I am, what I need, and what I want. Those kind people were right—I could not be there for my son when I was not there for myself.
It was finally when I no longer had the desire or energy to play with him (my sweet little boy who had worked so hard all those years to learn to walk and talk, and now, Mom could no longer have fun with him) that I went for help.
I have read lots of “Care for the Caregiver” lists and articles and handed many out to parents in various groups I’ve facilitated. Now, I have had a little time to really read them and think about them and the following are my favorites:
Find more information on self-care in the Family Support section.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to protect my son from bullying, but the older he gets, the more I must relinquish control of his activities. Here are some ideas to help our kids protect themselves as they become more independent.
All parents play an important role as their child’s advocate. For parents of children with disabilities, this role may last a lifetime. Yet it is also about giving your child the support they need to make their own choices.
I love my twin brother James more than I can put into words. Being a sibling to someone with a disability has been so incredibly eye-opening. It’s been a roller coaster sometimes. I know I am just as important to him as he is to me, and our relationship supports us both.