It’s Time to Celebrate YOU, Mom!

(Mother-to-Mother encouragement from a ChildServe Mom)

“The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because [life] worked out. They got that way because [life] went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. These women are my superheroes.”

– Adapted from Elizabeth Gilbert

To all the moms raising children with special healthcare needs, I want you to know I am one of you and I see you. I see you giving all of yourself and sometimes more than you have to give to help your child and keep your household afloat. I see you putting everyone else’s needs before your own. I know your to-do list is never ending and that while everyone asks frequently about your child(ren), people rarely ask how you are doing. If they do ask, you reply by saying you “are fine,” because where would you even start. 
I know that the pandemic has left you feeling exhausted at your core. The stress of navigating the pandemic with a child who has special healthcare needs has been more than you were prepared for. It amplified the helpless feeling you have when you don’t feel like you can keep your child(ren) safe or know how to navigate the overwhelming unknown that came with the pandemic. It expanded your already full to-do list, increased your sense of isolation, left you with no time for yourself and took away what little help from family you received or reprieve you had through respite. These last couple of years have been harder than many of us could have ever imagined and I want you to know that you aren’t alone in feeling exhausted to your core and burned out. 
I also want to know that you are amazing. Yes, you! The pandemic was hard on everyone, but I wholeheartedly believe it was the hardest for moms of kids with special healthcare needs. It pushed you to your limit, but yet you never wavered in caring for your child(ren). It wasn’t easy and at times it felt like more than you could handle, but you woke up each day and did what you had to do to get through. You found a way to make virtual school work and supported your child(ren) through a huge change in their routine. You also made virtual therapy work and/or started doing more therapy at home with your child, so they would continue to make progress. You figured out how to manage life and work when everyone was stuck at home together indefinitely. You handled these and so many other major obstacles like these with grit, flexibility, innovation and grace. 

 

While we recently celebrated Mother’s Day, moms deserve to be celebrated all year round. I want you to know I see you and I celebrate you. I know you made a million sacrifices to get your family through the pandemic and commend you for being the glue that has held your family together despite all of the challenges you faced. Your sacrifice and unwavering commitment to your family didn’t go unnoticed and I commend you for weathering the storm. If the pandemic teaches you nothing else, I hope you learn that you are stronger and more powerful than anything that comes your way. You are my superhero!

Christina DeShaw is the mother of three children, two of whom were born with a rare heart condition. All three children have received care at ChildServe. Today, Christina serves on ChildServe’s Family Advisory Committee and is passionate about helping other parents navigate the journey of raising a child with special healthcare needs.

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ChildServe improves the health and well-being of 5,200 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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