As a mother, I take on many roles and wear many hats. I am the typical mom who works around carpool, school practices, and doctor appointments. For a number of years when my children were small, I lived a much more stressful life. I was a full-time mom, worked outside the home and was a college student, house keeper, chauffeur and cook. Like lots of moms, I had a full schedule and never a moment to spare.
In all, it was a very full life. Fast forward a little down the road to having two children diagnosed with ADHD and a later additional diagnosis of autism. It was not a pretty thing. It was tremendously exhausting, and at times all I wanted was for it to stop. Between doctor visits, therapy sessions and everything else, I slowly lost my sense of self. I didn't know it at the time, but I was so sad and tired it took a great toll on my life. I began to isolate myself and my family. I did poorly in school, couldn't concentrate at work, and was constantly on the go both day and night. I thought I was just tired, but as it turned out, I was very depressed.
One day at a Texas Parent to Parent Family Support training I attended, they discussed grief and having a child with a disability. They then talked about the typical stages that parents experience. I realized that I was going through the grieving process. While it took me a long while to figure out, it took even longer to do something about it. Most people associate grief with losing a loved one, but the truth is that we experience grief in many ways and for many reasons throughout our life. We may grieve over the loss of a job, an illness, the loss of a partner or even an unexpected diagnosis.
Learning to acknowledge what I was feeling and why I was feeling that way was a blessing. As I learned about grief and the stages, I also learned what personal healing is and how it is important to all of us and our lives. Our feelings of sadness or disappointment are normal human emotions and it is alright to feel them. Through acknowledgement and acceptance comes healing and happiness. Even in the most difficult of situations, after the hurt comes the healing and we can keep moving ahead.
Texas Parent to Parent provides a variety of trainings. Training that covers grief and the stages of adaptation is just one of the many they offer. Visit their website for more information and to see when the next parent support training is coming to your area. For more information on trainings and support, check our Find Services, Groups and Events page.
As parents of children with disabilities, we strive to control as many things as we can—in a reality filled with things we cannot.
Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. When children don’t feel safe at school, it can have a devastating impact on their emotional growth and ability to learn.