Special Needs Sacrifice? Not So Much

Onlookers think moms of kids with disabilities make special needs sacrifices. 1 mom wants you to know she's gained more than she's sacrificed as a parent.

Hello, Different Dream readers. Would you join me in welcoming Brittany Miller as a new guest blogger? She’s mom to three daughters: Audrey, Brooke, and Juliette. Brooke was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome when she was five weeks old. Brittany introduces herself with this post about the special needs sacrifices she hasn’t made raising Brooke and her sisters.

The Life you Gain, Not the Special Needs Sacrifices

Sacrifice.

You have all heard the word. In other words,
giving up,
giving in,
sacrificing,
and devotion;
all such serious proclamations of who we are as special needs parents. Everyone I meet comments about how wonderful I am because I sacrifice SO much of myself to raise my special needs daughter. It is like instantly they feel obligated to glorify my job as the Mother. You all know what I mean.

Insert chuckle here.

Meanwhile, today is any normal day in the life of a special needs mom for me, not anything unique or special about it. While the comment is well intended and I am touched by their praise, the word sacrifice or giving up so much has always bothered me. Giving up just doesn’t do justice to the world of wonder I have gained as a special needs mother, and a typical mother. Because of these miracle children bestowed to me, I get to see life with a clearer, more purposeful view, I get to cherish the little moments and glory in the milestones. No matter how small! While life is about giving of yourself to your children, I want to focus now on what I have gained.

  • Everything is so exciting! Even the smallest little milestone is cause for a party, and our whole family gathers round to relish in the news. When my special needs daughter first learned to laugh it was the talk of the neighborhood for several weeks after.
  • Family time is meaningful. When you recognize your time may be limited, spending time together really does matter.
  • You become the most knowledgeable you ever have been. Since becoming Brooke’s mom I have learned a wealth of knowledge about how the brain works, sensory issues, medical terms, medications, therapies, doctor specialties, medical equipment, state programs, nursing, caregiving…the list goes on. I feel like a nurse, doctor, mother, teacher, caregiver, advocate rolled into one complex woman. It is overwhelming but also empowering.
  • You gain a family. This one is dear to me, since being initiated into this special world, we have met and connected with incredible people. Parents who are examples to me daily. Who fight for their children, love them deeply, and show us that happiness is possible when raising a special needs child. Therapists and teachers who have a special love and devotion to our amazing children, we could not raise our kids without them!
  • You can help others. I love being on the other end now, the mother who can give advice to the newly diagnosed family. I am so happy to be able to give back, give comfort, and advice on what to do when this new life is confronting them. We have all been that shocked mother. As time goes on we can find joy in this calling and help others do the same. This is a priceless gift.
  • We get a little piece of heaven in our home every day. Not many families can truly say that. The sweet innocence of special needs children is that they are perfect. The spirit of love is ever present and it has changed our family for the better.
  • Children with special needs create compassion in parents. Suddenly the fears you once had about others who are different, you get to see in a new light. Having a child with special needs helps me see the world in a more beautiful view, to celebrate and not fear others with disabilities.
  • Having a child with special needs molds typical siblings into amazing, compassionate people. Seeing the maturity and selflessness that comes when your other children serve their special needs sibling is like no other miracle in the world… enough said here.
  • You truly find out what you are made of. Being a parent of a child with disabilities is no easy task. It pushes us to our limits, takes us places we never wanted to be in. We learn, adapt and grow in this experience in ways we could not do otherwise. I have always said being a special needs parent is the most amazing club I never wanted to be a part of but am in for the lifetime membership.

Truly, I could go on for days about the benefits I have gained being Brooke’s mother. It is about sacrifice but more about blessings.
Sacrifice,
giving up,
giving in,
devotion…
yes.
The reality is, that is part of the deal. More importantly, let us all focus more intently on the life we have gained, not given up. Sometimes, if you let it, you can feel like you have hit the heavenly jackpot–even when it is hard.

Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult times.
~ Allen Klein

Your Gains and Special Needs Sacrifices?

What have you gained on your parenting journey. What special needs sacrifices have you made? Tell us about them in the comment box. Then, hop on over to Brittany’s blog to learn more about life with Brookie the Brave.

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10 Comments

  1. kim muszynski kim muszynski
    October 2, 2014    

    Perfectly worded, very inspired by this blog. I am also a special needs mom to a daughter with Aicardi Syndrome and can relate to so much here.

  2. kim muszynski kim muszynski
    October 2, 2014    

    Perfectly worded, very inspired by this blog. I am also a special needs mom to a daughter with Aicardi Syndrome and can relate to so much here.

  3. October 3, 2014    

    I’m glad it spoke to you, Kim. We all need encouragement to be the best parents we can be to our children with special needs. Blessings! Jolene

  4. October 3, 2014    

    I’m glad it spoke to you, Kim. We all need encouragement to be the best parents we can be to our children with special needs. Blessings! Jolene

  5. kimberly quinn kimberly quinn
    October 4, 2014    

    One other I would add one more, having special needs twins has caused me to be a better parent to my typical daughter. We learn to judge accomplishment by progress and effort that our special kids have to put out. This comes into our thinking and when our typical kids accomplish something, even if it is small, we know it was hard for them and we celebrate it.

    It all focused me on what was really important, for all of them. Parenting today has become a competition and parents are worried about so many small things. When you have a special needs child, you fight the big battles ans the little stuff doesn’t seem so important.

  6. kimberly quinn kimberly quinn
    October 4, 2014    

    One other I would add one more, having special needs twins has caused me to be a better parent to my typical daughter. We learn to judge accomplishment by progress and effort that our special kids have to put out. This comes into our thinking and when our typical kids accomplish something, even if it is small, we know it was hard for them and we celebrate it.

    It all focused me on what was really important, for all of them. Parenting today has become a competition and parents are worried about so many small things. When you have a special needs child, you fight the big battles ans the little stuff doesn’t seem so important.

  7. October 4, 2014    

    That is so true, Kimberly. Thanks for adding that to the reasons parenting a child with special needs is no sacrifice.

  8. October 4, 2014    

    That is so true, Kimberly. Thanks for adding that to the reasons parenting a child with special needs is no sacrifice.

  9. October 12, 2014    

    Thank you for all of the kind words!

  10. October 12, 2014    

    Thank you for all of the kind words!

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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