When my twins were newborns, I often met other moms who would stare at me, wide-eyed: “I don’t know how you do it,” they would say, shaking their heads.
I didn’t know what they meant until I had Silas. It was only after I had the perspective of having ONE baby that I realized how insanely hard it is to have newborn twins.
Last May, when I was deeply depressed about Benji’s situation, I was intensely frustrated with myself.
What is your problem?
This is not that big of a deal.
Lots of kids have learning disabilities.
Pull yourself together, girl!
And God answered my prayers.
I had just been googling “Counseling Services” (“Mom can’t handle Child Study Process”–do they have counselors for that?) when I received an email from a dear friend early in June.
This friend is an older woman from our church who has 20+ years as a preschool director. Her preschool is well known in our city and has a reputation for helping children with special needs. She is an expert in the Child Study process as a professional–and as a mother. She also has a grown daughter who has special life and learning challenges.
She told me she had been thinking about me and asked if I wanted to go to coffee. I quickly wrote her back:
…your email brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. They are much needed and appreciated. Yes, I would love to get together for coffee next week. My schedule is open, besides Friday. What day/time works for you?
Thank you again for your kindness and encouragement.
It was a Divine Appointment.
We met and talked. Well, I talked and she listened. It was exactly what I needed. I needed someone who understood, both as a mother and educator. I needed someone to tell me that I was doing the right thing, that the process was worth it, that I wasn’t crazy.
She didn’t tell me any of those things though.
She looked at me and said plainly, “I’ve seen this process, so many times. It’s always hard. Parents struggle. It’s real. If you think you’re going through something hard, it’s because you are.”
Her words, simple and matter of fact, were a balm to my weary mind and soul.
She didn’t try to minimize, by telling me everything was going to be okay.
She didn’t put me on the pedestal of some false martyrdom or sainthood, by saying, “I don’t know how you do it.”
She just listened and sat with me in my struggle.
She acknowledged my pain was real…and that was enough.
It is okay to go through something hard and to admit that it is hard.
I didn’t have to tell myself it wasn’t a big deal–a Child Study is a Big Deal.
Acknowledging that your child is struggling with life and learning and you can’t fix it on your own is a Big Deal.
Realizing that you need help educating and parenting your child is a Big Deal.
I was struggling because this was hard.
And that Truth brought freedom.
When I stopped minimizing my own pain, my depression began to lift, ever so slightly.
Sometimes the best encouragement is when a person just acknowledges that your pain is real.
Because when that person says, “I see you. I see your struggle” then you know you are not alone.