To Mommies of Special Needs Children

IMG_2051(1)Today as I picked Sophie up from school, I watched another sweet mama try to handle her special needs boy. He was screaming and carrying on, and I, being some distance away loading my children into our car, glanced over, just on the off chance that something was amiss and intervention was needed. I saw her speaking softly but firmly to him, trying to convince him of whatever she wanted him to do, probably just to walk to the car. As his tantrum swelled, she hardened her face with determination and strength, and swept him up off his feet, trying to control his body that is getting too big for her arms. She held him like a baby and walked with purpose across the field to her car. My heart was moved watching this mama. I would never want her to think I was gawking, but I was far enough away that I let my eyes fix on them for a moment. But soon my vision was clouded with tears. Oh, my heart aches for this mama. When she drops her son off every day, he doesn’t want to stay and has a tantrum. But then when she arrives to pick him up, he doesn’t want to leave and has a tantrum. And she drags him to the car. I don’t know what her son has, but there is a clear communication barrier — he’s locked inside himself for some reason.

Another sweet little girl in Sophie’s class is also three, and she can’t walk or talk. She’s learning to use a walker, currently. I see her mommy carry her into the school each day and set her in her wagon so that she can go to her classroom. She always has a smile on her face, but I wonder what her heart must feel as she watches all the other children walk into school with their mommies.

Just this week, a friend at church was telling me about a coworker whose daughter has developmental disabilities. She spoke of how this mommy struggles, often feeling so alone. She doesn’t have a support system.

Of my six closest friends in college, 3 of us, that’s 50%, have children with special needs. What are the odds?

And there are so many other mommies who bear this load, and loads much heavier than mine, too.

My heart aches for these mommies.

It’s not pity I feel. No, just the ache that comes as we see the talons of sin and brokenness digging into our children’s lives.

I know the fear, the anguish, the rage that can overwhelm the soul of such a mommy. Because I am one of them. Being a mommy of littles is tough, even without the compounding weight of a special needs child. I am even more aware of this weight now that I have two children, one of which is developmentally typical. I don’t fear for Micah’s future. I don’t worry in the same way over how he will make friends and how his peers will treat him. Maybe that’s silly, because I can’t see the future, and his road could be rougher than his sissy’s. Regardless of the evident or hidden obstacles in our children’s lives, we are commanded not to worry. Still, there’s just not the same ache in my heart over Micah’s sweet life. My heart aches for other mommies who bear this load with me. It’s not an ache I can explain. I just know it because I feel it in my own heart for my own sweet girl with an “uncertain future.”

Us mommies with the special needs kiddos just want them to be loved and valued, treated with the dignity and respect that any other child is due. Sophie is SO blessed to be surrounded by people who do love her in this way. She has an extended family and an entire church family who adore her, pray for her, and cheer along side our family. What a precious gift. If you are part of our extended family or this church family, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for always treating my little girl as the treasure that she is.

So I guess part of my ache for these other mommies is because I wonder, is there anyone cheering their family on? Is there anyone loving on their special little ones? When they feel that sadness creeping in as they see the differences of their child’s life, do they have a friend to cry with? Do they have the love of Jesus helping them carry this load?

Maybe this is the point of Sophie’s journey for me. I have joined the ranks of a very special group of mommies.

I applaud these mommies.

I want to remind them, “Sweet mama, you were chosen for this child. You do have what it takes. Keep going!”

There are so many days where it feels as if we don’t have what it takes, even when our children are developmentally typical. But day after day we make it happen. Because we’re mommies, and that’s what we do to provide the best for our kiddos. And it’s hard. But there’s no other option. So we trust the Lord, and we move forward, one day at a time. I can face tomorrow because my feet are firmly rooted in God’s truth. Because I know that no matter what Sophie’s life does look like, her future is secure. Her little heart belongs to Jesus. I trust in his plans for her future. And I take joy in each moment of her life.

If you are reading this and you are a mommy with a special little one, I want you to know with all my heart that it is going to be ok. Mommies, I have bled with you. I have felt your pain. But Jesus is my peace. I know that Jesus loves Sophie even more than I do. Jesus loves you and he loves your sweet little sons and daughters. He has GOOD plans. You can trust him with their little lives. He is and will be good. He has chosen you, mommy, to raise this little child, because he knows that you DO have what it takes when you put your faith in him. You CAN do this. And if you need a friend to cheer you on, you’ve got one in me.

If you know someone who needs this encouragement, please consider sharing my blog with them. My heart is for these mommies.


Filed under Devotionals, Sophie's Story

5 Responses to To Mommies of Special Needs Children

  1. Meg

    Such beautiful words of encouragement!

  2. marianne york

    When I was starting my Special Ed Master degree a favorite professor likened special needs in this way. A mother pregnant & anticipating her child’s birth. It is parralelled to anticipating a trip to a long awaited well studied place…maybe Hawaii. The passenger is thrilled & anxious. She has waited for this day her entire life. She is filled with joy. But as the plane lands she sees through the window snow capped mountains. They are beautiful BUT they are not Hawaii. She is filled with sorrow & uncertainty. But she lands & finds it is a beautiful place with many unexpected features that help her disappointment subside…but it takes time. She reaches a level of understanding but the heartache of not receiving the anticipated is there never to be forgotten just dealt with in whatever way she can. I think my class benefitted from her analogy. God’s purpose isn’t always for our understanding. Proverbs tells us that’s where the trust comes in.

    • admin

      I LOVE that analogy! You have put into words what I have struggled to describe myself so many times! With your permission, I may use this sometime.

  3. Janet A

    Thank you for that powerful post. You brought to life many real internal struggles of special needs mommies. They’re so true. (I meant mommies of special needs kids, but maybe “special needs mommies” is how we often feel!)
    I’ll add that many difficult children we see and mommies struggling to parent them, may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed children, and those moms have similar challenges and needs that you expressed. They experience the same pain.
    You wrote: “Us mommies with the special needs kiddos just want them to be loved and valued, treated with the dignity and respect that any other child is due.” I remember experiencing that happen to my child for the first times and it brought me to tears- I knew those being kind could never know the impact of their love. …which Jesus used to show me then and you reminded me now: that is how we are to treat everyone, and especially make the effort to love those difficult, “different” ones. Because it will not only bless them, their mommies (loved ones) may be even more intensely touched and encouraged by watching that act of Jesus’ love!

    • admin

      Janet, Thank you so much for reading! And thank you for sharing your experience! I forget that you have been down this road before with your oldest, too, and so you understand so much of what I’m going through right now. I loved reading about how you related to what I wrote. Glad to know I’m not alone. Thanks for your prayers for my family!