Why do we grieve as special needs parents?
I’ve tossed the term around numerous times about grief.
You’re probably thinking, but her children are alive why would she be grieving?
Hear me out.
When you find out you are pregnant you start to imagine what your child’s future will look like. What your own future may be…
It’s like we are bread to produce children, raise them into productive human beings and then send them off to college or to their job of choice at 18.
That’s what I always pictured. Being a grandma and seeing my sons get married to someone one day and possibly having their own children.
If you’d ask my husband he’d say he pictured throwing the ball around in the front yard, going to football practices, teaching him to work on cars.
We are always told, “no one has a crystal ball to predict the future”, “everyone with disabilities are different”, “they’ll progress and possibly talk”. These suggestions go on and on and on about your children with disabilities.
But what about us parents who are realistic dreamers. Our child may always live at home with us? That they may never speak? Our life will be so much different than I ever dreamed of.
YES, this is selfish. But we do it. We think it. We cry over it. We wish we could change it. But we can’t.
So here’s the grief.
The life you thought you were going to have. It may be completely gone. So we grieve that part and start having realistic dreams and hopes of maybe not college but toilet training. Maybe they won’t get married but they’ll be happy and content. Maybe they won’t talk but they can functionally communicate.
Grief. It comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s okay to have these feelings, but do me a favor and don’t stay there too long. You’ll miss who your special needs child is right now in the present and that’s something beautiful to witness.