11 Reasons Why Are Special Parents Often Overwhelmed
I am going to count down the reasons why are most special parents overwhelmed. I am not saying we should stop do all these things (for most of it, we don’t have a choice, we have to do them). I am also not saying it is our fault we are overwhelmed. And I am not saying to fix us or change ourselves. Unfortunately, there is no prescription and cure that would “save” us from all this. I am merely counting down because when we write things as they are, we can look at how it is, and gain clarity. When we get clarity, we see better; we know where we are and get more ideas. We can observe where we stand and see if there is something, we can do about that.
1. Often being a doctor, a nurse, a therapist, a nutritionist for your child.
One day you are you, the most regular person in the world, and the other you get a special child, and you become all the things I’ve mentioned. It’s your only choice, of course, you are going to do all those things. But sometimes they are too much for two parents, or one parent. That is one of the main reasons why special parents are often overwhelmed.
2. Often going in a hospital.
Special parents go relatively often in a hospital with their children. Whether it’s a procedure or medication treatment or complications, we are always faced with the possibility that we will have to go to a hospital. Staying in a hospital is exhausting (find the guide to survive your child hospitals stay here). You are far from the comfort of your home, you are tired, maybe it’s in the middle of the summer, and there is no air-conditioning in the room. Maybe when your child finally went to sleep, the child next door starts to cry … you know this movie, I don’t need to tell you. Those parents who have to witness these scenes often are naturally very overwhelmed.
3. Not taking a self-time.
The day starts, and you and your angel cuddle up:). You give them milk/juice/water. Change the diaper. Wash their face and teeth. You give your child medications. Making breakfast for them and coffee for you at the same time. You feed them and drink the coffee at the same time. Then you massage them or exercise, or you go for a walk. You realize that you forgot to have breakfast. Never mind, it’s almost lunchtime. If you are lucky and your child takes a nap, you cook lunch. You eat your lunch, and your child is up. The same circle goes on again: give them a drink/a lunch/medications/changing diaper/walking outside. It’s dinner time. The marathon from the morning repeats itself again. If you are lucky and your child falls asleep without tantrums and drama, you jump in the bed and fall asleep immediately. In a day with such a tight schedule, it’s a real challenge to find time for ourselves. Day after day, we become chronicle tired and overwhelmed.
4. Pushing yourself to exhausting missions.
Many parents are taking their children to a lot of doctors, checkups; they are trying alternative medicine, many different supplements, etc. Very often they travel very far with their children, like in our case. We’ve been to Prague three times with Joana to meet a doctor who was producing natural supplements. We also went nine times in Slovenia to take her to a bio-energy treatment. And we have many more similar adventures like I am sure many of the special parents out there have.
5. Too much thinking, planning, and attempt to predict the future to the smallest details.
We all do this: every once in a while, we feel overwhelmed, worry, and fear about our child’s future. What will happen after we are gone? Or what if I can’t save my child? Or will they have a difficult life? Will society accept them? What if the next epilepsy seizure is worse than the one before?
These things keep us awake at night. We know it is impossible to plan and predict the future, but these thoughts still come and overwhelm us.
6. Packing like a pro even for the shortest walk in the park.
You are going for a 1-hour walk in the park, and you take a bag of diapers, some clothes just in case, medications, bottles of water, food, toys, blankets… In our current situation, I make sure that I also take extra oxygen just in case, suction machine, and so one. The point is that no special parents could just get out and take a simple walk with their child. There are often time-consuming preparations.
7. The child has a sleeping issue.
Should I describe this? 🙂 This is very well known to any special parent. Most of the special children have a sleeping disorder. Sometimes they are up half of the night, crying or just disturbed. This is one of the biggest challenges for parents.
8. Making painful decisions.
This is a big reason for stress and overwhelming. Some special parents are faced with hard decisions like choosing this medication that causes depression as a side effect or the other that causes sleeping disorders? Or, allowing stomach feeding tube operation, or trach cannula. Some parents are even faced with the horrible decision whether they should allow the reanimation of their child when the next crises come, or to let go.
9. Financial issues.
Families with special children have higher costs than regular families. Their child is probably on a special diet, and it has needs for special supplements. Every use of homeopathic medications or supplements from alternative medicine most of the parents are paying from their own pocket. Not every car is a good fit for these families, they maybe have to get the one that meets their needs but is more expensive. And with these examples, I only touched the subject. In many families with special children, only one parent is working, which is an additional challenge.
10. Focusing on the flaws, not always acknowledging little success, and comparing with other families.
Even the most positive parents out there sometimes fall under self-pity. They are angry that things are like they are and compare with other families, thinking, “why can’t I have that?”. It’s not always easy to keep in mind all the beautiful things in life. Especially when all of the reasons above :
- -Are happening at once.
11. No time for partner-time.
It’s challenging to find time to communicate things with your partner, not to mention time for relaxing and romance. Often, there is barely the time to just sit down and talk who will do what during the day. Who will go to the pharmacy and supermarket, and who will pay the bills? Who will walk with the child in the park, and who will do the cooking? It can be overwhelming the fact to live with your partner in the same place and still missing them.
These are some of the reasons. See if there is anything you can do about it. If not, just look at the list, be proud of yourself for doing all this, and still stand tall. It’s nice to acknowledge yourself from time to time. Actually, you should do that all the time. Don’t hesitate to count your wins. They are yours, and they matter. Try to look for positive things—even just a little. If you can’t do that – practice. It’s exercise. I get in a more positive mode by telling myself that things are getting better and better and that it will get easier in time.