Sunday, September 8, 2019

Special Needs Parenting 101

I am a believer in the saying that “You cannot pour from an empty cup” Parenting is a noble but difficult task. The task of nurturing a little human being to become a responsible adult is not a joke

You have the responsibility to guide the child’s behaviour which includes his/her emotions, character, self-esteem and a lot more

I think that majority of parents wants the best for their children so if you happen to nurture a child who is not the average or regular, if your child happens to be differently able, it comes along with emotions, emotions which most of the time happens to be negative

The “why me’s” the oh God why and the weeping and crying which usually happens because of how society responds or reacts to your child. Most of the time apart from just being a parent we are busily explaining to society why your child is different.

My first child happens to have cerebral palsy, I did not have time to brood over her the way I wanted to because before I could say jack I was pregnant with a second and felt totally helpless and scared.

What helped me overcome the sorrow and the emotions I believe was prayer, I prayed, I prayed, I prayed. I prayed like there was nothing else to do. It does not mean I did not cry, oh I cried, I cried and cried over the child I thought I will have

However, after the weeping came acceptance. I love my daughter to bits, I accepted her for who she is, I became her advocate, I teach her to be confident about herself every day and she has become so resilient, she has actually taught me to be even more resilient for her.

I take it one day at a time, If you ask me what I intend my daughter to become or where I see my daughter in five years, I don’t know and honestly I don’t know. I am not God, her future is totally in the hands of God, who knows tomorrow, I guess no one knows his or her future except God, the same applies to a child with Special needs or a person who is differently able, I do what I have to do, I put my best foot forward in terms of nurturing but after all the work is done, it is in the hands of God

I remember when I was toilet-training my daughter, (and I started toilet training immediately she could sit at age two) I used to feel so frustrated, she just would not use a potty, I cried, I threatened, I did whatever, she wasn't picking up, now to my amazement, my daughter crawls to her potty anytime she needs to wee-wee or to poopoo, once I notice her near the potty, I rush and lift her unto it and it’s a deal.

She can get down from the potty herself and if she poopoo she will go and pick the Toilet roll to alert me to wipe her bum, if anybody told me that she will get to this level of development when she was three or four years, I would have doubted, now she does and I can’t stop being proud of her, it is one day at a time

The last thing I want to say is practice self-love, if you keep weeping and mourning the child you thought you will have, you are not helping yourself and you will not help your child. Do what you like to do. The biggest mistake I would have committed was to have focused my whole life on  trying to get my daughter to be better.

I focus on  me getting better to be able to help her, I am pursuing higher education, I am improving all the skills I have and learning new skills, I have developed love for simple things, nature, I admire birds and trees and leaves and I grow plants and oh I smile and laugh a lot.

I crave for more self-love, peace and a happy family life and trust me my family is enjoying me and I am enjoying them, the focus is not to get my daughter healed, the focus is to give her a happy life, I belive that should be every parent's goal to make their children have a happy life. I am proud to be an advocate not just for her but for all children with cerebral palsy and in fact all children with special needs

My daughter has opened my eyes to the beautiful things of life which we usually ignore, I am a very positive person, I look at the positive side of everything, now I am even more positive, I assert myself better and I totally believe in myself, and my life is so full of laughter, much more laughter than tears.

Having a child with cerebral palsy or any special need to me is a privilege,  it was an opportunity to learn more about my capabilities, to develop new skills and above all to love, love and love

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