Depression and Mothers Of Children With Special Needs
The truth is, you are not alone. Depression and mothering a child with special needs often go hand in hand.
It’s been coming on for a while now.
And with good reason.
The list of diagnoses and medicines.
The boys’ meltdowns and anxiety attacks.
The constant hypervigilance.
The lack of sleep.
The loss of any real personal time.
And, the intense grief that my youngest is spinning out of control in a mood disorder that has taken over his mind.
This time, it didn’t sneak up on me. No.
This time, depression has hit me like a freight train.
It’s important that I say it out loud.
I’m battling depression. For reals. Like with boxing gloves and a mouth guard.
Naming it matters. It gives me back just a little bit of control.
Depression And Mothers Of Children With Special Needs
Some days are easier than others. I can get out of bed and do all the things for all the people who rely heavily on me to do all the things.
Some days I just want to cry and pull the covers up over my head.
Part of it is chemical, I know it. I see it in my family history and even more so, in my own.
Most of it is the loss of ordinary – the grief that my sweet boy is being taken over by illness and I cannot stop it.
The Reality Of Depression and Mothering A Child With Special Needs
I am depressed and it’s hard.
And I know I am not the only one.
Maybe you are too. Depression and motherhood happen at the same time, for so many of us. Depression and mothering a child with special needs? Perhaps even more so.
Please hear me – you are not alone.
You are not the only mom who struggles just to make it through another day. You are not the only mom who worries about how to care for herself, while at the same time care for her children. You are not the only mom taking prescription medication, or in therapy, or both.
And I want you know that although I am depressed, but I am not without hope.
I have been here before. I am sure I will be here again.
Depression takes time to heal – just like any other illness.
Today, that looks like letting go of the laundry and taking a walk instead.
It’s having another cup of coffee and curling up with a book.
It’s going to bed early.
It’s asking my husband for help and accepting my friend’s offer to grab dinner for us.
It’s praying the “Help me, please” prayers and the “I can do all things through Him” prayers.
It’s a nap, if and when I can get one.
It’s just doing the minimum, and more importantly, not beating myself up for it.
I will give myself the same grace I extend to my children when they are struggling.
And I will remember that taking care of me, is an essential part of being a mom.
Taking care of me is taking care of them.
For More Resources And Support
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.