Caregiver Confidence

Embracing The Role Of Parent-Caregiver
           There is a dark day for all parents of special-needs children; the day we get the diagnosis that changes the course of our lives forever.  There is understandably some grieving of our expectations, and perhaps some denial, anger, fear, anxiety, shock?  And then we are thrown into a world of medical or therapeutic decisions, procedures, forms, questions, evaluations, more decisions – like being thrown into the ocean and not knowing how to swim.  It can be a struggle to get up to the surface at first, to realize that we are not really alone in the midst of vast and uncharted waters.  And when we are able to breathe, the work begins again; it is easy to become exhausted and overwhelmed, to feel like we are drowning.  Some of us may go through periods of sinking, followed by determined forward strokes as we learn to care for our child in ways we never thought we would have to.  Some will fight the ocean and the tides, refusing to move, at least for a while.  Some will cling to unhealthy habits or addictions like they are a piece of driftwood, only to realize they are further and further off-course.  There are many ways to cope, unhealthy and healthy, as we very humanly get our bearings. At some point, we can realize the need to embrace the ocean, to take the challenge to thrive within it, to adapt, be resilient, to learn how to swim well, with strength.  We see our child in the water with us, and they need us like a life-preserver, for that is what we truly are.  In holding them up and teaching them slowly how to swim, we find we have made a home for ourselves in the water.   

           To have confidence in our role as parent-caregiver, we must embrace the ocean.  And when we do, something happens that makes all the difference in our ability to cope with our family’s circumstances, and more than that, to bring wholeness to our lives.  The sooner we open our arms to our circumstances, the sooner we empower ourselves; we are not victims, or mere survivors of a shipwrecked life.  When we embrace the parent-caregiver role, we are once again at the helm.







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