Special Needs Moms Need A Tribe
On challenging days, support from your tribe is so important. They will lift you up and remind you that you are not alone in this journey called Life.
My view this morning is an empty pre-op room. The sounds that I hear are of nurses doing their jobs outside the door and a child crying for mommy as they are wheeled down the hall toward surgery. Even with those noises, it just feels quiet.
COVID-19 Has Separated Me From My Tribe
Covid-19 has changed a lot of things, but this was one I had not really prepared for. This is my child’s second surgery this year, the first was an orthopedic surgery in March at the very beginning of the Covid pandemic. This nasal surgery is right in the middle of it.
The first, my husband sat beside me in the pre-op room that they are using instead of waiting rooms. He was able to go down the street to bring me Chick-Fil-A for dinner instead of cafeteria food and sit with me to eat. This time, I sit by myself . . . alone.
Due to the Corona Virus, only 1 parent is allowed in the hospital with any minor patient. To have my husband bring me breakfast after my child went back to surgery, I had to go outside the hospital to get it from him. When the doctor came in after surgery it was just me to listen and take notes and remember to ask all the right questions.
Alone, it feels very alone.
How To Stay Connected During a Pandemic
COVID restrictions and social distancing have made it nearly impossible to feel connected to your friends and community.
If you’re a member of a Tribe, your Tribe mates need you more than ever. A simple text, phone call, or a few minutes on Face Time can make a world of difference to someone who is feeling isolated.
Here are a few ideas for spreading joy and staying in touch during this difficult time.
- Leave a bouquet of flowers on their doorstep. Aldi has beautiful roses for just $3.99. Local flower farms are another great source for fresh flowers at an affordable price.
- Bake them a treat. A small bag of cookies is a great way to let someone know they are thinking of you.
- Share produce from your garden.
- Mail a card. Happy mail always cheers people up.
Reaching out doesn’t have to be a time consuming or expensive gesture. Simple deeds let others know that they are loved.
You Need A Tribe
This made me think about all of you that deal with these things by yourself all the time. I am lucky that I have my husband with me on this journey. What do you do when you do not have a partner to tag team and support each other?
You need a tribe. All our tribes may look a little different, and even with a partner, you still need a tribe.
This is what my tribe has looked like over my son’s 18 years:
- Nan brought be a Sonic Rt 4 cherry limeade to the waiting room during a long tethered spinal cord surgery.
- Kim picked up my child when I needed to stay with my other son at the ER.
- Carol brought lots of puzzles for my son while recovering from foot surgery. Then again brought a bag full of activities and snacks, labeled to be opened each day for five days as we recovered from his most current surgery.
- Phil & Vanessa brought a basket full of candy and popcorn for both the kiddo and mama to the hospital for a hospital stay after surgery.
- Suzy always texts to check on both kiddo and Mama around a surgery.
- Rich met us at the hospital at 5:00 am just to let us know that he was thinking about us and our son’s surgery.
- Karen gave me some of her dad’s famous caramel corn for Mama to snack on during the kiddo’s sleep study.
- Claudia sends the best get well cards from states away.
Finding People Who Understand
Kate is an autism mom with Finding Cooper’s Voice Here shetalks about the difficulties of special needs moms finding and making friends.
Make Your Own Support System
If you’re feeling alone, and don’t have a Tribe, assemble your own. Sometimes Tribes are naturally formed with family members and long time friends. Other times, you might have to seek out loving people to support you.
Here are some suggestion for places to look:
- Other parents who have kids with special needs.
- Church members
- Support groups
How To Be There When They Need You
If you already have a wonderful tribe, love them hard and help them out when they are going through difficult times. Being part of a tribe isn’t a “one way street”.
If you are not a parent of a child with special needs, or even if you are, think about how you can be the tribe of someone else who needs it. How can you be a blessing in their life and make things even just a tiny bit easier?
- Bring a meal so that they get to cross that one job off their to do list.
- Give gift cards to local restaurants that deliver for people with long hospital stays, the hospital cafeteria can get really old really quickly.
- Bring a favorite drink to the waiting room as they wait through a surgery.
- Text and call and let them know that they are being thought of.
- Ask questions and listen to them when they just need to vent.
- Offer to watch the kids so that they can have a date night.
- Bring special treats for the child, siblings or parents for hospitals stays or illnesses.
- Sit with them in the waiting room.
- Help with yard work or other errands so someone with so much on their plate does not have to think about it.
- Do not just ask what you can do to help, look around, find a need and fill it. Many parents of children with special needs will not ask for help. Sometimes you must figure that out on your own. So be observant.
Tribes are so important. They remind us that we are loved. We all need a tribe. What can you do to be someone’s tribe?
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