I know how it feels.
I know how it feels when you can’t help your child, and sadness takes over.
I know how it feels when they’re not progressing, and you worry about the future.
I know how it feels when you watch other children do things your child may never be able to do, and the envy builds.
And I know the guilt that comes with feeling these emotions. I know that guilt you feel when you find yourself wishing that disability had chosen another home than yours to inhabit. That guilt, I’ve felt it too – I still feel it often.
I know why you want things to be different. I know it’s not because you want your child to be “normal,” but because you wish his life was easier. I know it’s not because you don’t accept him as he is, but because you don’t want him to suffer anymore. I know it’s not because you want to change him, but because you want him to be able to enjoy his childhood, to have friends, and to be happy, all without needing daily therapy. Above all, I know you long for the peace of mind of knowing that when you’re gone, your child will be able to care for themselves.
But I also know the love you have for your child. I know how tirelessly you advocate for them.
I know how you feel when you hear them say “mama,” and happiness warms your entire body.
I know how you feel when you see them interact with a peer, and you allow hope into your heart for a minute.
I know how you feel when they look at you, and tears come to your eyes.
I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like love. There’s no reason to be ashamed of your feelings. Society puts a lot of pressure on mothers, and even more so on parents of children with disabilities. It’s okay if you can’t smile through it all. It’s okay if on some days, autism is too much. It’s okay if you’re not the perfect mom at all times. You’re allowed to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling right now. Don’t fight it. Let it sink in, and embrace it. Wishing your child wasn’t disabled is not incompatible with loving them with every fiber of your being. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, just human.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.