Being a mom is not an easy task. This is even truer if you have a child with special needs. This does not mean, however, that special needs motherhood must be sad or frustrating. Quite the reverse. The experiences you have as a special needs mom sheds light on every area of your life and it’s up to you to make the most of each one of them. In the following text I’ll tell you what an extremely painful experience for me — one of my son’s seizures — taught me about happiness for life in general. I hope these 3 steps help you in your personal struggles as well.
October 12th, 2017 – Children’s Day in Brazil
Lost, astonished, scared. This is how I felt the first time I witnessed one of my son’s seizures. He was two years old. Unfortunately there have been more seizures since then and I keep feeling lost, astonished and scared whenever they occur.
At the time I am writing this text, thousands of children are celebrating National Children’s Day here in Brazil. We have done the same thing, but our day has been as atypical as our parenthood. After spending some fun time with our kids, our eldest son had an epileptic seizure.
After the seizure, I happened to see the picture we had taken together minutes before. We were both happy and I smiled. Now I was/am having a hard time trying to control my tears.
I looked at the picture and thought to myself: “regardless of seizures, we choose to be happy”. I then realized that happiness is a choice in the first place, and then I made the decision of fighting to be happy in any circumstances — even after a seizure. My son himself inspired me to think that way. Once he recovers from his seizures, his bright eyes always smile to us as if nothing had happened!
Fighting for happiness does not mean ignoring the problem or dealing superficially with it. It is about transforming any fact — ANY fact — in a positive experience, even if you have obstacles along the way.
Here I share 3 practical steps to help you deal with your issues with a more positive perspective. Try to follow them next time you have a difficult experience and let me know if they have helped you.
FIRST STEP: ENJOY SILENCE
We live in a noisy world. City sounds, neighbors’ noises, smartphones’ notifications. At first it may sound impossible to learn to enjoy total silence, but over time it becomes easier and even necessary.
Whenever you have a difficult experience, try to enjoy silence so that you can identify:
- What you are feeling — naming your emotions is crucial;
- How these feelings relate to the fact you have experienced.
SECOND STEP: ANALYZE THE FACT AS AN EXTERNAL OBSERVER
Objectivity may be hard to achieve when you are judging your own life. So what about analyzing your circumstances as if you were an external observer?
- Close your eyes and try to see some event of your life from a more distant perspective. If necessary, give different names to the people involved (as if they were characters).
- Write down what you see and how you react to each situation of that scene. It might be useful to ask for a friend’s advice to help you remain objective.
THIRD STEP: WRITE DOWN YOUR POSITIVE BALANCE
Any fact can have a positive balance at the end, because you get one or some of the following results:
- Lessons learned;
- Truly good advice from a person you trust (and that has helped you along the way);
- Goals you might set for yourself after each situation. Important notice: small goals do matter!
Any of these results will have allowed to ‘upgrade’ as a person. The more you experience that, the happier you become — not as a magical result, but as a consequence of maturity.
By the way, this text is not a monologue. 🙂 I’d love to hear from you. How do you deal with your issues as a special needs mom? Do you consider yourself a happy person?