The last few days I have been trying to think of what the highlight of 2014 was for me.

I have a few at the beginning of the year but the last 4 months my memories are shadowed by a dark cloud: depression.

I hate the word.

People see it as not coping, just being miserable, or worse - unable to accept my child’s disability.

The support out there for new mothers who find out they have a disabled child is non-existent – “Here’s your diagnosis, now run along!” 

We live in a society where people do not show others their weaknesses or insecurities.

If you sit and talk to someone they don’t really listen – they offer their opinion, or they try and tell you everything will be okay.

Not the empathetic response needed when you’re crying out for help.

Since the day my child’s special needs were diagnosed I threw myself into ‘doing’ mode.

I became a physiotherapist, doctor and teacher.
I spent 12 hours a day (and many hours at night) using every single ounce of my energy on my child.

I carried guilt and thought ‘I will make your life good because I brought you into this world’.

There was an overwhelming feeling of having to get it right and not being allowed to make mistakes.

I had to show everyone, including my child, that life was not over.

I never cried.
I had to stay strong because if I didn’t, I was afraid I would crumble, and I would fail my child, myself, my husband, my family, my child’s doctors and physios.  

It’s assumed that parents of special needs children know what they are doing – well my hand is up, I don’t have a clue most of the time.

The truth is, it’s not okay.

I can put a smile on my face and tell people we are fine because that’s what they want to hear but when you bring a child into this world you want everything to be perfect, that doesn’t change when your child has special needs.

When you learn they will have to struggle every single day to be accepted and will never lead a normal life the responsibility falls on your shoulders to do what you can to make it the best it can be.

There is no time for anything else.
 

So for 2015, I am going to make sure I get the help I need.

I am going to stop being so hard on myself because throughout this all I have actually forgotten how to be a mother who plays and laughs and has fun.

I am going to be selfish and make more time for myself so I can remember who I really am.

I am going to take time to recognise the ways in which our lives are actually better, recognise the small steps we all make as a family and just stop striving for perfection.

I am going to allow myself to feel sad about the child I dreamt of.

I am going to allow myself to cry because keeping it all inside up has left me wiped out.

I know it’s okay that my child isn’t perfect, so I can accept that I am not either.

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