Confessions Of A Special Needs Mom

by Jenni W
Originally Published: 

Dear Friend,

You knew me before I became a mom to a child with special needs. We have enjoyed many great times together, and we have experienced life’s sadness together too. There are things that I haven’t said, because these aren’t the things people say out loud. Since I became Eve’s mom, many people whom I called friends have left, but you stayed.

On most days, I feel alone. It’s not because I am alone – I am usually surrounded by many people – but there is rarely time to sit down unhurried with you. It’s hard to get past the surface when it’s been months since we last got together. But thank you for asking the questions like, “How is your marriage?” and, “Are you finding time for yourself?” so we can really talk. I need that.

I feel guilty because I have to turn down most of your invitations. We have therapy during the women’s groups you invite me to. I am exhausted by 6 p.m., so the exercise class will have to wait yet another week. Couple’s weekends aren’t even a possibility, as we don’t have respite care lined up. But dear friend, thank you for inviting me. I feel like I haven’t completely fallen off the face of the earth when I get a text from you. Thank you for allowing me to cancel our lunch dates at the last minute without getting angry. I wouldn’t want a friend like me, but I need a friend like you.

I feel the most excited when you include my daughter in whatever we are doing. I know it takes looking up wheelchair accessibility and other factors, but I could just squeeze you for trying. And your children are so loving, naturally inclusive and sweet. You are raising the best kids, I am sure of that.

There are days that stretch me to my limits, and that’s when you show up. You text me during surgery days, you bring meals when I am at the hospital, you find ways to support my other children. I am not sure I could have been this kind of friend to you had the tables been turned.

Since our children are the same age, most moms would compare notes on potty training or kindergarten readiness. You celebrate my daughter’s first steps years after your son’s. So many others couldn’t hear about yet another medication or operation without feeling pity. You listen and you understand.

Moms like me need friends like you. Please, keep inviting me, keep including me, keep including my daughter.


Your friend

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