Ever misdiagnose a cry for hunger as a cry for a nap? Or fallen asleep while draped over the side of a co-sleeper, feeding an infant at 3am? Ever thought “I can’t do this” only to discover that you can do much more than you give yourself credit?? Am I just talking about my self?? In any case, these past 8 months of motherhood have been an amazing experience but definitely full of lessons, trials & errors, and at times very funny mishaps (that we can laugh at now).
Starting today and for the next couple months, I will be blogging once a week about being a parent with quadriplegia: the ups, the downs, and the unexpected benefits and challenges. I welcome your stories, comments, questions and suggestions. If you’re a parent with a disability or a spouse of one, please send me your stories and own lessons learned!
And now, on to the series, Parenting: So many lessons, so little time
Forward Motion: Wrapping my mind around parenthood
I remember the moment when I decided that I wanted to have a child. I was with my mother on vacation and we stopped in at one of those malls with an ice-skating rink. On the ice, there just happened to be a group of kindergarten-age little boys dressed up in hockey uniforms, shimmying and sliding and falling on their butts. It was the most adorable thing I had seen in a long time. I had made up my mind at that moment that parenthood was something I wanted to experience with my husband and I.
I hadn’t had any fear regarding that decision until that little plus sign showed up. Then the only thought that went through my head for a good couple hours after was “oooh sh*t.” I had no idea what I had got myself in to. The pregnancy went well (with the exception of some challenges, which I will probably blog about later) and in no time at all, we were welcoming our new little son to this great big world.
Parenting with a disability, as I am discovering, is one heck of a teaching tool for how to become a better person. It can show you what you are really capable of when you think you are at the end of you rope; it can teach you to trust in your abilities when you think you’re about to fail; and it helps you to be humble and acknowledge when it is time to say “I might need some help.” Most of all, parenting is the greatest experience I could have ever hoped for. I have learned the most from other mothers, both with disabilities and without, and we all seem to come up with similar gems of wisdom, no matter our ability.
Mommy Lesson #1) When there’s a will, there’s a way!
I am a mother with a disability- Kind of incredible in and of itself. I use a wheelchair to get around, I have limited use of my hands, poor balance, and yet, I am a mother. I did jump into it with a little bit of arrogance, thinking that it would be easier than what it is but I’ve discovered that the same mantra I used to motivate myself in the early years of using a wheelchair, applies here. When there is a will, there is a way!
As everyone has discovered at some time in their lives, the Way may not exactly be what one expected. The Way may be Wait (as in, be patient), or Rest (as in, recharge your batteries), or the Way may be “Just Do It!” Or sometimes the Way is Help. Whichever Way fate chooses, when you let your Will direct your motion, there is nothing you can’t achieve. Nothing has driven this lesson home to me more than being a parent.
So, if you find that you are running in to wall after wall, maybe it’s time to change your path. It’s time to seek advice, think critically, or just break yourself out of the funk. One big life lesson I have learned is that if you change your attitude, the world around you will change, too.
Next week: Mommy Lesson #2) Trusting Yourself