Sherrylee, “Remember your child didn’t ask to be born, and your child didn’t ask to be born with a disability. Don’t treat your child like they are the root of all your problems. Your child is struggling and you need to understand, they don’t want to be this way. Accept and love them. Help them to learn to live with the disability they have. Teach them they are a very worthy human being.” Tip #9
Sherrylee’s comment in tip #9, “Don’t treat your child as the root of all your problems.” really resonated with me. Prior to Michael’s disability, in the early years, it’s tough for me to admit, I felt as if Michael was the root of my problems.
I remember confiding to my therapist, “I’m trapped! I’m stuck with a baby.” I really was focused on all the pressure he was bringing to my life. I shamefully recall moments, a time, in which I did see my sweet little boy as the root, and the reason, for my problems.
My therapist responded, “You are in no way stuck. There are many options.” She proceeded to list those options for me. She mentioned, contacting Children’s Aid, adoption, re-assigning custody, finding respite, even running away – complete abandonment. She explained, all options have been taken by other Mothers in distress, and were available to me.
Being made aware of the choices, and receiving credit for choosing to stay and to raise my son, was very empowering. In that moment, I felt strong and free. I did have a choice! It was enlightening for me to see, I was choosing to be a parent! I could feel the breathe come into my lungs. I left lighter, my head was higher.
Her advice helped me to understand my son was not my problem. My inability to cope was my problem. My perception was my problem. We worked on coping skills, and on perception. It was at this time, with her guidance, I began rebuilding myself and taking responsibility and pride in my choices.
Sherrylee’s strength in reaching out is one of the great things about her. I’d like to think it’s something we share.
Sherrylee reports her son is now working as a Supervisor for a mining company. He’s doing great and she’s very proud of him. Happily, she is also proud of herself for not giving up on him. Together they faced challenges head-on. Now her “chest nearly bursts with pride.”
Today her son still has ADHD. He manages it well and has developed the coping skills necessary to deal with it. Sherrylee describes him as one of her “life’s greatest accomplishments.”