Sarah* had four children and worked part time. She loved them all and had such high hopes for each of them. She watched them carefully for every achievement, from their first smile, their first steps to their first words. She imagined that they would continue to grow and develop normally.
She noticed at an early age that her third child, Shmuel, wasn’t developing at the same rate as his older siblings. She assumed that he would catch up on his own. It was only when his ganenet voiced her concerns that she realized something was wrong and that she needed to see her pediatrician. That was just the beginning.
There were the countless appointments to schedule and an endless list of tests. Then there was waiting for the results, and the worrying just worsened. How would he cope at school? Would he be able to have a full, meaningful life? What did this mean for his future? So many questions and too few answers. When the results finally came, Sarah discovered that Shmuel was delayed in his speech development, social skills and fine motor skills.
From having an orderly week, Sarah’s time was now filled with taking Shmuel to therapy and doing speech and occupational therapy exercises with him at home, as well as trying to reschedule her work and other commitments. What made things worse was that Shmuel wasn’t being very cooperative. He didn’t like being taken out of gan, schlepped to different strangers and the difficult and frustrating exercises he now had to do. He took it all out on his mother.
Sarah was also getting pressure from all sides. The ganenet complained about Shmuel’s change in behavior. Her boss tried to be sympathetic but really needed her in the office, not going off to appointments. Her husband travelled a lot and left her to worry about Shmuel, brushing off the concerns.
She would toss and turn at night with worry. She blamed herself for Shmuel’s problems, for not doing something about it sooner and for not being more assertive in getting quicker appointments. But mostly, she worried about his future. Would he be able to go to a regular school? Would he be able to overcome his challenges? Would he always be struggling? Who would look after him when he was older? And finally, was she giving enough attention to her other children?
Sarah was overwhelmed, feeling stressed and anxious. She knew she needed help to take control of the situation, for the benefit of her children. She gave me a call.
Sarah needed to work on two areas. First she needed help relieving her stress, and then she needed to explore her feelings. When we have a child with some kind of special needs, we sometimes need to mourn the child we thought we would have and accept and embrace the child that we do have. This process, which can be painful and difficult, takes time. But it is important. Not just for you and how you feel about your child, but also for your child, as he too needs to accept himself and feel good about himself. And special needs children, like all children, have so many strengths and reasons to feel good about themselves.
Sarah had many adjustments to make, from reducing her stress to being more assertive in getting the help Shmuel needed, but with careful coaching, Sarah continues to succeed and is raising happy children, all working to achieve their fullest potential.
If you, like Sarah, are feeling overwhelmed and would like to learn how to cope with stress and the challenges that life throws at you, give me a call for a free first consultation. You are not alone.
Contact Helen Abelesz, Life Coach for Women at 054-482-9815 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my Facebook page: Life-Coaching-for-Women.
* Not her real name and all identifying features have been changed.