Sometimes, you’ve just got to get over it

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

Looking back at myself, before becoming a parent, one thing is clearly obvious. I was a wimp.

Having kids tends to bring out a sense of tenacity in us; strengths arise inside that we never thought possible.

The vulnerable little ones in our care need us to be MORE, and that’s what we become.

Once, I was soft-spoken with a more delicate disposition. Becoming the parent of children with special needs has drastically changed that.

I owe a mighty surge of newfound courage and steadiness to them.

I’ve encountered situations that would have caused the “old me” to want to duck and run.

Now, I know that these unexpected, unavoidable times of parental stress are impossible to hide from.

They are inescapable. However, we can’t let them break us down; we can’t dwell on them.

Sometimes, as a special needs parent, you’ve got to stand tall, deal with it, and move on.

No matter how daunting the circumstance, I remind myself: Sometimes, you’ve just got to get over it.

There are many trials that no parenting guide or child-rearing book could ever prepare you for. Not even close.

I have been through instances of medical and emotional turmoil that could fill the pages of my own book.

Embarrassing moments where you wish the universe would just swallow you up, right where you stand.

A swim diaper failing MISERABLY during an aquatic PT session.

A tantrum that is BEYOND intense, as you’re leaving the playground.

Chronic GERD episodes that erupt in the middle of an overly crowded restaurant…or in the Planetarium, all the way until you’ve reached the exit door.

These experiences require you to dig deep and somehow find a glimmer of humor to avoid losing it altogether. They cause you to briefly wonder, “Can I show my face here, ever again?”

Plenty of occasions have also sprung up that have awakened the fighter in me, and eliminated my once pushover self.

Sitting in meetings with school administration; unaccepting of the excuses for bullying.

Arguing with insurance companies over the desperate necessity of medical equipment.

Pushing back at a customer service rep who made a mistake, causing our imperative monthly medical supplies to stop.

Being fed up with the lack of support and understanding for my child at school; therefore, deciding to homeschool…the list of these goes on and on.

For each of those events, I’ve had to embrace being “THAT MOM”, suck it up and power through.

I would have never imagined myself having the fortitude needed to handle all that I’ve had to contend with.

At times, I do get overwhelmed and I feel myself stumbling. In those moments, I know that I must regroup and reassess.

My children need me, and they deserve the strongest version of me.

For that reason alone, I work fervently to manage the predicament at hand, deal with it and not let it consume me.

I know that more obstacles are lurking, just around the bend.

When another hits, sometimes, you’ve just got to hold your head high, get over it and move on.

You’ve got to be prepared to tackle the next one.


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