Having a healthy baby is every parent’s dream when you find out you are pregnant. From phone apps to monitor pregnancy stages to buying everything your newborn needs. You long to hold your baby in your arms. The baby arrives; some are diagnosed immediately after birth while some come later on. When parents talk about the day their kids were diagnosed, as challenging. Sometimes without a way forward to what next. Grief is the word most use to describe that first experience, going through emotions and motions
Isolation and depression
The first few months after diagnosis are hardest, take time to adjust your mindset and expectations. Embrace your child and open your heart to love and care. There is high rate of isolation and divorce when parenting kids with special needs. Most families’ lives take a turn after diagnosis unfortunately some never recover from it.
Every child is different and if you start to view your child as an individual person: with unique preferences, tastes, sensitive and loving: you will be in a good position to mold love and appreciate your child. They are their own person who needs you to be able to attain their potential in life. Stop comparing your child to other children instead focus on appreciating every little achievement they make.
Take the case of Einstein for example. While he eventually started verbalizing words at the late age of 4 years, he surprised everybody by turning out to be a great scholar and bagging awards for his ingenuity and academic brilliance.
And Einstein is not an isolated case, there are still others who ended up as late talkers while all along their parents thought that they were indeed autistic.
Try seeing the world through their eyes. Find unique find a way to communicate with your beautiful little one the way he understands. Take each day as it comes and break up tasks to they do not appear enormous
People do not understand that you might feel so helpless at times. Even if you wanted to take away their pain or circumstance from your child it’s just not possible. Still you must be there for them even on the bad days. Going for a walk or to the grocery store takes quite the effort to prepare and carry all you may need.
When you are not sure how your child will react when outside and vice versa do it anyway. If you get tired of the questions and looks when you go out and you isolate yourself. Do not allow loneliness and isolation to define you. Both you and your little one need days you interact with other people.
Home care, doctors’ appointments, therapy and tantrums takes a toll on the parents. Some liken this situations to their lives being taken over by their child. There is a certain loss of identity especially when kids are very young. Depression and frustration kicks in as your kid depends on you for everything. All you want as a parent is to grow well healthy and happy.
Denial within yourself and from all sectors in your life. People confuse you thinking they are trying to help. Things that people say but do not help:
- To seek other opinions when you have had several
- It’s a phase your child will grow out off
- Your baby will catch up eventually
Your baby is having a rough time already trying to understand the world around them. Provide a certain type of structure and support. Kids look to their parents for love, support and understanding when things are tough for them. The therapies and routines are hard for them.
Give your kids a great Launchpad for life and create a safe environment at home. Kids need to see good structure support and balance. If you are spent on your issues and stress you might miss the little joys and milestones your child is making.
Have defined roles
Your life will revolve around your baby after diagnosis that’s a fact. But having well defined roles as a family where every member is involved takes the pressure off one person also he more consistent you are by having certain schedules relieves pressure and anxiety even to your child.
There are times when parents need to vent. Most days you are spent, frustrated and angry. Give your friend and partner a shoulder to vent out their frustrations on. No judgment and no advice from you period.
Take time off
When you are rested you are in a better position mentally physically and emotionally. Ask for help when you feel lost neighbors, babysitters and family members. Accept help from other people in case granny or auntie offers to help stay with the kids take the time to have a nice bath, cup of tea, go to the gym see your friends or nap.
Form or join a support group
As you educate yourself on your child’s needs, you might find yourself looking for support groups. Note that there are parents all over also looking for support, create or join groups of people with similar issues.
Labelling kids into groups sets limitations for your child rather than celebrating their achievements. You must strive to look and fill your child with positivity regardless of your circumstance. A positive attitude allows you to celebrate your child and help them socialize. But a negative attitude leads to isolation and depression. Have good friends, support and online communities that help you share.
Parents of kids with special needs kids must
- Never blame yourself
- Never be hard on yourself
- Do not think negative thoughts
- Never compare your child to others
- Do not allow depression or isolation to take over