What to Do if You Just Find Out That Your Child Might Have Mental and/or Physical Challenges?
Words don’t teach. Experience does. That’s why I will not tell you what you should do, but I will tell you about my experience on this subject.
When I first found out that Joana might have challenges, I remember that I felt shocked. I stayed with that feeling for a while.
Naturally, the next step for us was to go to other doctors and look for second, third, and fourth opinions. Also, we went to a lot of therapies and similar- basically, we started to take as many actions as possible in order to provide for Joana everything we can to make her progress.
At that period, I felt the need to connect a little deeper with the spiritual side of me. I started to go to church almost every Sunday, trying to gain some peace in me and find some answers.
I remember that whenever I was in this state of extreme sadness, and I needed to cry, I felt a lot of guilt. It was because the members from our closest family were panicking that now my husband and I will get into a deep depression. Whenever we cried, they were like, “Stay strong, pull yourself together, don’t cry, Joana needs you…”
It’s interesting how I’ve changed in the last six years and how differently I would react today. The first thing is that I would cry whenever I feel like crying. How else would I process everything?
“Don’t cry” and “Stay strong” are not good advises because you need to deal with your emotions. And in order to feel good, if you need to be sad for a while, it’s not the end of the world.
I also remember that I felt a lot of self-pity and sorry for my child (very much). That is something I don’t do today because it’s simply a lot of bad energy. Now, instead of feeling sorry for her, I am sending her positive vibrations, like, “I know that you are strong and capable. I respect you, and I respect your perception of life. I appreciate you from where you are”.
But it is natural at the beginning to feel sorry for your child and yourself.
I was also comparing myself to everyone around me, and I was asking questions like: “Why me? Why can’t I have that?” It’s normal if you do this too because shock is still pretty strong.
Knowing then what I know now, I would do many things differently.
The part where we go from hospital to hospital, from town to town, and from one country to another will stay the same. I would still try to provide the best medical care for Joana. There is no discussion about that.
If I was at the beginning, I would do things and take action from a place of calmness. Not from a place of fear, worry, and frustration.
Back then, my actions were from a place of worry and uncertainty. I wasn’t really expecting things to become better. I was too focused on what’s wrong, rather then what the positive sides at the moment are. That way of thinking and acting brought me so much stress.
Now, I would be calm, and I would be sure that everything will get easier after things settle down a little, and somehow things will arrange on their own.
I don’t say that I’d do nothing and just wait for everything to happen on its own. But I would take action and follow my ideas and intuition in a much calmer way.
I would still go to church more often because it helped me be present and connect with my spirituality, but I would also turn to many books.
First, I would take the book Conversations with God from Neale Donald Walsh, and I would read it very slowly and very carefully. That is the book that answered me a lot and taught me to ask the right questions.
I realized that I’ve asked a lot of wrong questions like “Why me? Why my child?” instead, I should ask: “What to do now as it is what it is? How to get the best of my life? What am I learning? What is the bigger picture?”
This and any other book I read brings me calm and clarity and really helps me broaden my perspectives. The advice to read will always be on my menu😊.
Next, I would tune myself at the utmost faith I can and know that things will get easier and get better. We will get to use to the new normal, and we will start to experience other side of us that we didn’t know we have.
I would also immediately hire a life coach. I would set some goals, and I would hire a professional to guide me to accomplish them. Because now I know that I don’t have to do it alone, and it’s much more efficient and better if you have someone to guide you.
I would instantly implement morning routine. That means waking up pretty much at the same time every morning. And then practicing meditation, gratitude, journaling, and exercise. Practically the purpose of this is setting an intentionally positive attitude for the day. That is really helpful and beneficial and brings you peace and energy. Optimism follows naturally in that state.
Finally, if you are a new special parent, I would like to say that if you just found out about your child’s condition, find inspiration in a similar story like yours. You will not find identical because everybody’s story is unique. You can find FB groups for special parents, podcasts that are hosted by special parents.
There may be a solution to your child’s condition. Communicating with other parents can bring very positive things. And it feels good to know that you are not alone.
Know that now it’s time for a change. For a big shift. Whether you wanted or not, changes will happen because now you have a special child to take care of. That’s why you will need to make adjustments in your everyday life as you know it. You maybe need to consider that the only reason this happened to you as a family is just to change something for the better.
In the end, maybe you just got a little teacher to teach you that you can live differently and with different outcomes.
If you missed out the previous articles: