It is hard to realize that your child will have to work so much harder for all the things other parents take for granted. This doesn't mean that I don't want to celebrate in the milestones of my friend's children because I DO. I always am in awe and excited for the kiddos who were born much later than Abe who are already walkin' and talkin'. I just remind myself that I got lucky because I got to have my little baby be a baby a little while longer than everyone else. (Although, the damaged ligaments in my wrists tell my body otherwise: carrying a 26 pound toddler everywhere is hard work and not easy on the bones. "Getting old is the pits!" my Grandpa used to say. Now I get it.)
As most people do, I have been doing a lot of reflecting over the last two years. Abram's Birthday will probably always bring up a host of emotions. I can only hope that someday the trauma of his birth and all that ensued afterward won't sting as much. I often still wonder if the events of his birth and the fallacies of the Hospital in the days following his entry into the world are the cause of his issues but I can't allow myself to linger in those thoughts for long.
I will always grieve not remembering holding him for the first time because I was so drugged up after an emergency C-Section that went awry. I will always have the guilt of "what-if" the nurses had attended to his oxygen levels sooner. I will always wonder deep down inside if there was something that I could have done to prevent these issues my son and our lives have had to endure.
Not many people have to endure that kind of grief. It is a deep, hollow and echoing grief that sneaks up and slaps you across the face with it's utter bleakness. It is a gut wrenching sadness having a child who can't tell you what hurts because they are unable to speak. It is a never ending heartache not being able to do the one thing a Mama is supposed to do for her child..... the ability to make things better. To not know what is hurting him or what he needs is horrific. To NOT KNOW the name of the thing that has taken over your whole life hurts so bad that sometimes it makes my throat close up in order to stop the tears from flowing. (Like right now as I am writing this.)
When people ask what is "wrong" with my son, it. Is difficult to explain because it is not just one thing that affects him. Each little diagnoses that my son has includes a huge list of symptoms that affect his daily life in numerous ways and it is impossible for anyone who isn't living it to even get. That is not to say that other mamas don't have it rough or have a bad day but I think it's hard for people to fathom just what we go through on a daily basis.
Unless you've sat on the other side of a two-way mirror to watch your child scream-cry for over a year in order to do something as simple as bearing weight on his legs... you have no idea. Unless you have a child with serious sensory issues there is no way you can get it how much it impacts my son's everything from clothes and eating to playing, socializing and playing. Unless your child has Hypotonia you have no idea how long it takes for my kiddo to reach a milestone. Unless your child has a mass in their brain- there is no way you can get it. (Just how there is no way I can get how hard it is to have an even more medically fragile child. Until you've lived it - you just cannot know.)
So, when I say "You are so lucky" to parents of typical children - I mean it. Just like I am so lucky that Abram doesn't have even worse symptoms or diagnoses but I always speak with those parents enduring more than I can imagine - I always speak to them with integrity and respect. So please, if you know someone going through something similar just be kind.
Don't make offers to help - Do something. Say something. Be there. I see this a lot in other blogs as well so I know I am not alone in this feeling. Send a card. Send a text. Leave a book for them to read on their doorstep or a silly toy. These are things my friends have done for me. You have no idea how much it cheers someone up to find a dinosaur bath toy, an old silver bowl(who did that btw?) or a Mac Tonight wind-up can do for the soul.
NEVER tell a parent with a special needs kid that you have it just as hard if you have a healthy child. I have friends with both typical and special-needs kiddos and they echo this sentiment as well. Parenthood is hard enough for everyone. However, going through a non-stop health crisis since the day your child is born is nothing to scoff at or belittle.