When the diagnosis comes, and your world changes…
Affiliate links- I use aff. links to cover the associated costs of providing this website. I only recommend resources and products I personally use. I make a small commission, and your price is the same. This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support of this website, it means the world to me!
Short on time to read this? Have a PDF of the top 10 delivered to your inbox by subscribing to the newsletter:
10 Things to know as a new Special Needs Mom
1) This is not your fault-
We, moms, blame ourselves for everything. That has got to stop. Chances are that nothing you could have controlled will have been the deciding factor in your child’s condition. Even if there was a rare case where there was something you could have controlled, you obviously didn’t know. So, while it’s easier said than done, you need to give it to God and let it go. I promise you that many years down the road you, more likely than not, will see the blessing this disability has brought you. Even with its fair share of sorrows.
2) Don’t make yourself crazy trying to figure out the cause–
This ties in with the point above. Did I spend too much time around chemicals? Was I not nurturing enough, was it arguments at home, or was I too stressed during pregnancy? Maybe it was his iron levels, or his awful pediatrician…genetics, epi-genetics, my own diet? You could go on forever and you will still never have a conclusive, for sure answer. You will spend countless hours on this trying to either punish yourself or “let yourself off the hook”. Later you will realize that this wasn’t your fault, and you could have used the time to cut out stress and take care of yourself. Leading me to the next point…
3) Take time for self-care–
I don’t know if we run ourselves ragged because we truly believe it is the only choice, but I think there are lots of reasons. We worry about what others think. Thinking we need to spend every moment on recovery. We see it as the price we pay for causing this (see #1). We think no one else will do what needs to get done in the house (and we may need to let go of some of those expectations btw). My candle burned at both ends for years. I never even heard of self-care until about 5 years ago. I laughed at it, “Who would ever have time to spend on relaxing? Do you even have a special needs kid?!” I paid for that big time… It wasn’t worth it; I promise!
4) Trust your gut, trust your gut, trust your gut-
Our pediatrician was top rated at a top rated facility in an affluent area. I felt so fortunate to have him in our corner; until I realized how incompetent he was. He never tested Kekito’s iron levels and recommended an iron-free vitamin supplement for him despite knowing he was exclusively breastfed. Worst of all though, is that when I asked for the Early Intervention number, he told me to wait and see. “Give it a year and see if you still feel that way.” If you know anything about autism, you now that intervention is more effective the earlier it’s done. We don’t all have an Autism diagnosis, but the idea applies regardless. My son has recovered so many skills and I am so glad I dumped the doc and called EI anyway. You know your child best.
5) It’s okay to try new things-
But don’t make yourself crazy with experimental procedures or put yourself into the poor house. Unless something has some hard evidence, it’s a gamble. I understand that there may be some miracle supplement out there or something that worked for a mom on the internet… but it’s still a gamble. To date, I haven’t seen any Autism miracle supplement; only things that are good for gut health, so sure, why not on these. However, chasing expensive, unproven, drug and supplement therapies will probably have been money better spent on tools for other uses (occupational therapy, sensory input, child safety, and even self-care). If you don’t have money for experimental therapies, don’t beat yourself up — most of us don’t and it’s not necessarily going to do any good.
6) Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks-
7) Chances are “what-if” worries won’t ever happen-
8) Find a mentor to help you navigate as a new Special Needs Mom-
9) Focus on the blessings-
I promise that moms who tell you they see the experience as a blessing are not full of it! When they say this, it doesn’t mean that it was all blessings and life was easy. Blessings often come through the hardest of trials. Autism showed me that I have a gifting to work with special needs children, it gave me a sense of passion I thought was forever gone after I left the military. I appreciate my son’s ability to speak more than I would have otherwise. I still have daily struggles with Autism related stuff, but I appreciate how different it has made me see the world. Whatever struggles you face today will not last forever. Even if it feels like it.
10) Your child simply wants to be your beloved child…
11) Comparisons are the thief of Joy-
Join the newsletter
Join thousands of moms just like you!
Subscribe today to get a free PDF version of the 10 things I Wish I Knew as a New Special Needs Mom, occasional exclusive discounts, encouragement, and tips!