Special Needs Parenting: Never Say Never

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...

I thought that life’s plan was easily mapped out before me and things would magically fall into place.

On the list was:

Graduate College…check.

Get a good job…check.

Get married…check.

Have babies...check.

I had no idea of the events that would unfold in my life that would make me realize that my plan had a serious detour coming.

Abruptly, the real world, the universe swiftly kicked me in the pants with a wake-up call.

All of the wonderful milestones of life that I had dreamed of did take place, and I’m blessed beyond measure to have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children.  But, I have learned that the easy road doesn’t exist.

As a special needs mom, I do things every day that I never imagined I would do.  For the ones that matter most, I’ll never say never when it comes to what is best for my children.

I always thought that doctors knew best and if one recommended a prescription medication, we should take it, without question.  WRONG.

Having a child that depended on ADHD and Anxiety medications, one day I became enlightened.

We shouldn’t have to medicate our children so that they can make it through a school day.

Feeling fed up with how things were going, we decided to homeschool.  We learned that classical music improved concentration and that our son loved it!

A stay at home mom with a child doing schoolwork from home?  I never thought that would be in my plan.

We also found a specialist that understood our concerns of the side effects of stimulant and anti-anxiety drugs.

We found support, natural medication and we successfully stopped the prescription medications. The result – a happier, healthier, well-adjusted boy!

I never thought I’d be a mom that would spend hours researching holistic and natural remedies.

When my daughter’s reflux medication stopped working effectively, the “solution” was to add another medication into the mix for her.  A medication that had the potential to someday affect her one solitary kidney.

The meek person that I once was vanished; enough was enough. A mom who would have never questioned the expertise of a physician now questioned everything and picked apart every single detail.

Essential oils, apple cider vinegar and a plethora of other remedies are out there – and I will log many more hours researching to find what naturally and safely works best for her.

Political government was something else that I never thought I’d insert myself into. How ignorant I once was to believe that as a citizen it wasn’t my duty to take an active stance for others.

I am no longer afraid to stand up for what I believe is right.

My children gave me reason to become involved and to stand up and speak out for those without a voice.

never thought I’d shake hands with Senators and thank them for supporting a Medical Cannabis bill in our state…and I never thought I’d be writing letters and making desperate phone calls to opposing Representatives, pleading for their support of it.

In addition, threats to our children’s medical coverage and to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by lawmakers has given way to a louder, stronger mom that will never sit idly by again.

I’ve learned many beautiful, difficult and uplifting lessons because of my children.  I’ve adjusted my sails and I take life’s path in stride.

Although I never imagined this is where I would be, happily, I know this is where I’m supposed to be.

This is where I’m meant to be.  Now, I know better, and I never say never.


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