I think all parents feel exhausted and burned out at some point. Parenthood brings a lot of responsibilities and while it is one of the most beautiful things in the world, it is also hard and challenging at times.
Unfortunately, parents of children with special needs have it a lot harder. Their list of requirements and responsibilities is longer, and it includes regular medical appointments, medication administration, never-ending phone calls, paperwork, various kinds of therapy, learning to use medical equipment and using it, IEP meetings, and so on and so forth.
Plus, they need to change, bathe, and feed their children who are past their pre-school years. They also must constantly check if they have enough medications and worry about running out because their kid’s life depends on them.
That is a massive burnout that all the parents of special needs children face daily. And it is not a kind of tiredness that usually comes at the end of a busy and long day. It is not exhaustion that three cups of coffee can solve.
It is a kind of exhaustion that lingers in their mind and heart, exhaustion that is always there with them after waking up and never goes away.
It is saying goodbye to all your careers and plans for the future.
It is fatigue from waking to change your kid’s diaper as you have for the past 12, 15, 20, or 40 years.
It is crying in the bathroom and smiling in public while pretending that everything is okay.
It is a desperation that comes from wanting to protect your child and feeling unable to do so.
It is having to wake up at 5 a.m. to get in time for your child’s appointment at the specialty doctor.
It is an exhaustion of feeling guilty for abandoning your other children while you sit on the hospital bed with the one who needs you the most.
It is constantly having dreadful thoughts in the lines of, “What if something happens to me? Who will take care of my child then?” “What if I outlive my child?” “What if my child outlives me?”
It is battling with depression and anxiety while suffering physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Their burnout is real. Their pain is real. Their struggles and never-ending.
And they never complain because they love their children. They would do anything for them. They put their needs before their own, always. They love them so much that they would trade their lives for the health and wellbeing of their children.
So, next time you see a parent of a special needs child, instead of saying to them, “I can’t imagine how you do it” (sometimes they don’t even know what they are doing) or “I wouldn’t be able to do what you do” (you will if it were your child), try being more compassionate and understanding. Smile and tell them they are doing a great job.
Sometimes a listening ear and an understanding smile are all they need to keep on going.
I am currently writing my first book titled “Inside The Narcissist’s Psyche: His Ability To Make Victims Stay With Him Even Though The Pain They’re Feeling Is Unbearable” If you are interested to take a glimpse at it, follow this link and tell us whether you like the subject so that we can send you a free chapter after we publish it.