This post has been on my mind recently, but I wasn’t really sure how to write it down, or what to say. So I’m just going to give it my best shot.
I know a number of women in this business who have children with special needs. I can count up, very quickly, five of them. I’m one of them. This needs to be pointed out, because I want everyone dealing with this particular struggle to know that you can have something for you too. That your dreams aren’t over. That you can still write.
Writing got me through a lot of the bumps in the road with both of my boys. My oldest has a pretty severe speech delay that, at five years old, is finally starting to sort itself out. My three year old son is in therapy for Autism, and he’s only just starting to speak.
The day I got The Call, I was enrolling my oldest into a pre-school that would help him with his speech, and I was doing paperwork to get my middle son started on Autism therapy.
That stuff is hard. Coming to the point where you’re admitting there are problems, problems you can’t just fix. Problems that might not go away. In the midst of that, I was so thankful for the support of my husband, my family, and for books that allowed me to go to another place for a while, either as a reader or a writer.
It’s important to know, if you’re facing this particular issue, or something else, that you aren’t alone in it. And that you can still write.
With my middle son, who I call Danger Baby online, I came to this realization during a talk with my mother: No matter what his ‘diagnosis’ is today, he’s the same child he was yesterday. The same child he’s always been. A diagnosis only helps your child get treatment. It doesn’t change who they are.
And the diagnosis doesn’t have to upend your life, it doesn’t get to stop you, or defeat you. (My plug for early intervention, because it does work!)
I know a lot of moms of special needs kids, with all different kind of problems, on all different ends of the spectrum. They are the strongest women out there. Because it can make you strong. It can make you see life differently. See people differently.
I think my new perception on people has only enhanced my writing. It’s only helped me understand love that much more.
Still, I know it’s painful some times. I know that worry, the one where you wonder how your child will grow up, will they have friends? How far will they progress? Those aren’t fun worries.
That’s the other thing I’ve learned from my Danger Baby. One day at a time. Today, I’m fine with where he’s at. I’m proud of the progress he’s made. I love him more than anything. That’s the important stuff.
And that mindset has carried over into other things in my life in a positive way. One day at a time. Not worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry for itself.
At RWA last year, Nora Roberts said when she was going through her divorce, she could have paid for therapy. But she chose to write, and use it as therapy, and get paid for it.
I love that. And I find writing can be therapy. A place for me to let my emotions bleed out. A chance to take a brain break from some of the tough stuff.
The bottom line of this post: You aren’t alone. And you can do it.