“Your life must have changed after having been given a child with special needs”.
Someone told me once… and yes, I may have to say so that my life has indeed changed. But doesn’t every baby, special or not change you in a way?
Sure we have more doctor’s appointments to keep, more specialists to meet, and more prescriptions to fill than the average family. We have a nurse instead of your standard baby sitter, and specialists come to our house instead of us taking our baby out for play groups.
We will be spending our money longer on diapers and formula and maybe even co pays…. But we get to save on baby clothes, because our daughter takes her time to grow… so that is savings that can go in the bank… Cha-Cha-Ching!
And, yeah, we don’t really need to stay up all night feeding our baby because a kangaroo pump does that for her, but we still have our share of sleepless nights and restless days, because just like the “others” we do still deal with colic and constipation and teething.
We probably spend more time at the hospital than any typical family, but at that hospital, we see other parents like us who have put in their hospital time as long as we have and we feel no different from them. Actually, in a way, we feel a bit ahead from the typical parents because if we need to have our baby stay at the ICU, we have the most expensive baby care team in the world watching her while we go out and have dinner... Date Night!
Our typical-parents-with new-baby counterparts go look at calendars and dates and proudly talk about milestones and how old their babies are, while we try to stay away from developmental charts and just focus on our daughter as an individual and beam with pride to see the upward curve on the growth chart she made specifically for herself…. But that really does not make us any different. We beam and boast just as much as the typical parents do no matter how trivial and small they interpret our achievement to be.
“Oh my Isabella didn’t throw-up all her feeds today…. Good job baby girl!”
That feeling of pride we feel as parents is no different from theirs…. Though,I may be a bit modest there…. Because honestly, those “little trivial milestones” took a lot of hardwork, and really our pride is magnified 10x more than that of the ordinary parent. So in that respect, really we are better of… but really, its not something to brag about… even if it is... so I won't.... I mean, I will try not to.
We will be packing a diaper bag and a stroller with us for a longer period of time than the "normal" parents… and our baby will stay younger longer for what her actual age is… but so what?
All that time we have ahead in the infant-to-baby-game makes us experts in the diaper-bag-bulky-stroller-hauling- and moving-business. We can have our eyes closed and still be able to formulate the right consistency for semi solid baby foods. We also look great doing it. No baby weight to lose, no more sticky-hair-sleep-less-nights-i-look-like-a-mess days... well maybe not a lot of that, and most definitely not a night-after-night-after-night (mare?) ordeal. Most importantly, we can have her and baby her for longer than any other parent in the world.
And the tears? Sure, there are lots of them, maybe more than what is considered "normal".... but what else is out of the norm is the amount and intensity of the "tears of joy" we get to experience. There really is nothing like having tears of joy... imagine that intense feeling of tears from sadness and grief, and flip it to the other side.... hard to imagine huh? ...we'll if you could only be me for a day, then you would probably understand where I am coming from, that is if a day would be enough really. Oh, we have many many many tears of joy to enjoy!
So, did my life change?
It most definitely has….
Who wants to live an ordinary life anyways?