by Amber Eckstein
When you have a child who has a complex medical history, sometimes it’s hard to keep positive and optimistic. We all have our moments when we feel down about a test result or when we are just having a bad day. All those moments that make you feel down are part of this journey we are all on. Things do not always turn out the way that we would like, but that, too, is part of life.
One thing that I realized when we first found out about my son Austin’s medical troubles is that I felt down and blamed myself. My family had told me so many times that it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could do, but I did not believe them. I wanted someone or something to blame and blaming myself was an easy thing to do. I had a lot of anger in me for quite a while.
My father said something to me over and over again. It was something I needed to hear that I think other parents need to hear as well:
You were chosen for this task because you can handle it.
I am a religious kind of person so I believe that God does everything for a reason. Some might not believe in that and I would never push my beliefs on anyone. Nonetheless, faith is something that I rely on. Even if you do not believe in God, are not religious or if you do believe in a different god, faith is still important, whether it be faith in yourself, your child, or some spiritual being.
Faith helps me keep optimistic. For some reason I have been chosen to have a miracle child in my life. I can honestly say that my family and I were never bad people, but having Austin in our lives has changed us for the better. He was a gift to us for some reason we will never know.
Appreciating the Small Things
Feeling optimistic is not always easy, especially when you are getting bad news. But I think to myself, “How can we prove them wrong?” There have been things that Austin has done that people never thought he would be able to do. Here is his first genuine smile that he gave a dear friend and me:
A picture is worth a million words, and a smile like this makes you realize that you are doing a good job. Though he cannot tell me, “Hey, Mom you are doing an awesome job,” when I seen him, I can tell that he is happy and well taken care of. I’m doing the job that I was sent for.
I remember for the first year and a half going on four hours or less of sleep and knowing how hard it was to get up and down all night. I knew I was doing an awesome job and I also knew that someday he’d be able to sleep in his own room. We just made the transition into another room with his big brother and I only have to wake up once a night. The small miracles are so worth it in the end.
Staying Positive, Even During the Struggles
Keeping a smile on your face even when things are looking down is important. I know there are days where I’m gloom about everything and I’m not saying that you can’t have those days. But knowing you can triumph over anything will keep you going as well. Slaying those demons not only in yourself but around you helps so much. Knowing you can do it is such a wonderful feeling.
Keeping a positive attitude is hard sometimes when you keep getting these road blocks in front of you, but if it wasn’t for these little challenges life would be boring. As we all know, life with a child with special needs is never boring. Not everyone is going to understand exactly what you are going through if they are on the outside. But go ahead and vent to your friends. But let them also give you advice. I know there are many women out there who have been doing this far longer than I have and I still have a long road ahead of me. But knowing there are others mothers out there who know what I’m going through and how I feel has helped me so much to know I am not alone in part of the struggle.
You will get unwelcome advice as well. Some people will give you those looks and questions that you just do not feel like answering. Try to instead educate people! I know someone who says she gives cards out to people who look like they have questions but to afraid to ask. The cards have a link to her blog about her little boy.
Take Joy in Your Child
Spend every moment you can with your children with a smile on your face. Love them like you have never loved anything before. Keep faith in yourself and your child. You cannot go wrong if you are trying your best. Be an advocate for your child during these times because you know your child better than anyone.