“Your Child Does That Too?” The Bonding of Special Needs Moms

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...

Your heart changes and you discover gratitude for things once unappreciated.

While this new life certainly brings immeasurable joys and intense thankfulness; it can also bring isolation and solitude.

Time for yourself.

That was something you once knew, but scarcely stumble upon anymore.

Visits to doctors, specialists and therapists now fill your days.

As for myself, sometimes I feel like a recluse.

Things that I once had in common with people from my old world have become lost.

That is not a complaint, just a fact of the way things are now.

However, since venturing into this vast new world, I have been lucky to find others along the way that are walking a similar path to the one that I travel.

When that happens, the feeling of isolation begins to melt away.

At a recent therapy session for my son, while making small talk with another mom, a sweet moment of EUREKA occurred.

Listening to her talk about the adversity her family had faced on their journey and also the bliss and hopefulness that has come along with it, we found striking similarities in our lives.

Although no two situations are identical, there was such a common ground between us.

We shared experiences and spoke of the immense love we have for our children.

We nodded while listening to each other and acknowledged familiarity.

We talked of seizures, meltdowns, homeschooling, feeding difficulties and medications.

We discussed IEPs, MRIs, AFOs, surgeries, syndromes and advocacy.

We were speaking a language that special needs parents become fluent in.

I would compare experiences like this to being alone in a foreign country and crossing paths with someone who fully understands your native tongue.

Meeting and having a conversation with someone who absolutely “gets it.”

This mom and I now gladly greet each other each week and pick up our conversation where we left off.

Every week I genuinely look forward to going to this particular therapy session.

It is one hour out of the week where I enjoy sitting outside, watching my son engaged in equestrian therapy.

It is one hour where I sit and talk face to face with another mom who works tirelessly and would do anything for her children.

Another mom who fights for them with her every breath.

In this hour, I feel less detached from the world and much more included.

This time is always so very therapeutic.

Not only for my son, but also for me.


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