Do you ever really “get over” having a special needs child? Well those are words I’ve heard and I am comfortable sharing my thoughts and experience. I think the answer is “NO” and I think anyone that expects you to probably has never experienced pain and frankly are a negative influence in your life.
Do you think anyone gets over the death of a child, spouse, parent… Well, for me it’s like I had two children. One child I grieved and put to rest and the second one who I love more than anything in the world. When you’re pregnant you start to make these expectations up in your head, plans for your child… well when I grieved, I grieved those dreams and expectations to rest. I now have new ones and I love the new ones. But will I ever “get over” what happened and the heartache Kyle and I experienced? Probably not. Can I “get over” my daughter has been to the ER 33x’s and hospitalized 7x’s? I frankly think that is unfair of one to ask—especially someone that didn’t experience the roller coaster and still the many unknowns. What I have learned is to cope (new way of thinking) and a new normal for my family.
I had a friend call me and tell me one of her good friends just found out their child is special needs and what should she do for her friend. I’m a huge believer that we all deal with situations differently. I don’t believe one is right or wrong. I’ve learned that thru having Reese—Kyle and I from the beginning have handled it differently. Again, no right or wrong but what I do believe is other’s should respect the differences in how you handle situations.
The most important thing I had going for me is a ton of people praying for me. The devil was already heavily at work on me because he saw an opportunity in which he thought he could win me over but I had too many people praying, praying. I had a few close friends continually text, call and write bible verses all over my house—not giving up on me. Even on those days I didn’t want to get out of bed (that was during the grieving stage). I found others who had a special needs child that I could talk too. Our situations may have been different but it was someone I could talk to and have a same level of understanding.
I finally accepted it. Did I “get over it” no because it’s something that faces me every single day.
If you know someone is hurting DON’T tell them to get over it. But DO send them a card, pray for them, pray with them, take them a meal… do something that reflects the grace of God.
One thing I’m so thankful for is being able to be open and honest with my girlfriends. I’ve told them do not cut me off from what your kids are doing. I want to know! I remember spending a long period of time worrying that my friends would cut me off because I had a special needs child. My mom told me—you’re not giving them a chance. She was right. I’ll never forget the day one of my friends said, “I want my daughter to know Reese as Reese and love her”. That made my heart melt because I knew she wasn’t going to teach her daughter—Reese is “special needs” but Reese is Reese and fearfully and wonderfully made. Special needs doesn’t define Reese or my family. I have people tell me they didn’t ask us to do something because it was this or that environment. Kyle and I will make those decisions but ask–don’t cut us off because you think… what’s awesome is we will make those decisions for Reese.
Reese is doing extremely well and we are thankful. Many people ask me “well isn’t she doing better than they thought”. I know this is meant with all good intentions… but there isn’t enough research to truly indicate she is doing better than what they thought. Reese has a “ trans-location” of her chromosome (the worse case scenario)…. We were handed a study of 4 girls. The oldest was 8 years old walked, one died at age two and chances are 50% of declining and having seizures as they get older. So they/we don’t know. What I do know is Reese is an amazing gift from God that has humbled me. What I do know is I cannot imagine my life without Reese McClain. What I do know is Reese is teaching me to grow/nurture the relationships that mean most to me. And lastly, that we aren’t guaranteed anything… live/love/respect/give to others like it’s your last day!
What I do know that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18)