Parental guilt isn’t something you have to go looking for. Like the extra pounds that seemingly sneak up overnight, guilt has a way of sticking to you and wrecking havoc with your self esteem. Special needs guilt is even more insidious. As we try to work though the emotions of a diagnosis, guilt intermingles itself into our hearts making it impossible to recognize what is true and what is not.
It doesn’t help that both family and friends can often add to this sense of guilt. Everyone is an expert on your kid, it seems.
I’d like to propose that we change the direction of the conversation.
Special needs parents, you’ve got this. Oh, there will be days….weeks…..long stretches of time when it will feel like you don’t. But don’t let anyone else, even your own self talk, to allow that guilt to win. Reach down where the overwhelming love for your child lives. Hang on to that. Think back to all you’ve accomplished. Think back to the odds you’ve beat. Make a list of your successes and post them where you can easily see them several times a day.
Give yourself permission to tell anyone who tries to drag you back into the guilt to go to hell. Recognize that those who would tear you down to make themselves feel better, or some how justified in how they see you or your child, have no place in your life.
Make the time to surround yourself in those who are making the same journey. Learn from those who are ahead of you. Offer a hand of understanding and friendship to those who are behind you.
You are doing better than you think you are. I promise.