When you have a child who has a chronic illness or special needs, your parenting journey will inevitably be different. From the emotional toll to exhaustion, or anger to guilt, your journey will be met with many challenges you didn't think you have to face. But here's one thing I wish you should never give up believing.
That is, your child is perfect.
You may not have controlled over the course of the illness. You may feel vulnerable because of the emotional and possibly financial burden. You may be feeling down because of it. Your relationship with your spouse may be tested in this difficult time.
But what is within your control is your perception of your child. This is because how you seeyour child will be important to set the stage for everything else.
You child may not be able to go to many birthday parties, spend too much time in doctors' appointments or hospital visits. Your child may be ridiculed by some cruel people, may be bullied later at school and may be faced with more unpleasant things and challenges ahead in life. But your child needs to know he or she can count on you for a safe space, a comfort support and that you believe he or she is perfect, no matter how life may be unfair or cruel.
But to do so, you need to take care of yourself first. These are 5 things I wish to say to parents with children who have chronic illnesses or special needs:
You are not alone. You may feel alone, isolated and that no one understands. But you are not alone. Reach out to build your support system. There are people who are managing just like you, facing the same challenges and coping with the same struggles. Find them, connect with them and solicit friends and families you can rely on. You need a team. It takes a village to raise your perfect child.
Don’t blame yourself. It's not going to be easy. You will have bad days. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself.
Don’t be afraid. Don't be afraid of the unknown. It's true you don't know how things will turn out. But being afraid isn't going to change the outcome. You may as well focus on something you can control, focus on things you can improve.
Take care of your relationship with your spouse/partner. Raising a child with chronic illness or special needs will put a lot of stress on your relationship with your spouse/partner. Take care of your relationship and talk openly about how you are coping or struggling. Support each other too and seek help if needed.
Don't forget the "healthy" siblings. Your "healthy" children also need attention too. Often when there is a sick child in the family, lots of attention is focused on the sick child, leaving others feeling not as important. It's important to pay attention to them too so they don't feel forgotten.
This is a lot and can be overwhelming. But you must believe you are the right person to raise your child - because after all, this is unapologetically your perfect child.
Originally Published on: www.drugopinions.wordpress.com