It is pretty safe to say that parenting is stressful for everyone. However, when you add the challenges of parenting a child with special needs, the stress level raises significantly. Any mother reading this already knows this fact.
On a daily basis, the mother of a child with special needs could possibly deal with:
- her child’s unrelenting needs, especially for time and attention
- having to communicate with a variety professionals who provide services for her child
- driving to and from various appointments and therapies
- communicating with teachers and school administration
- Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs)
- extended family members who do not understand
- other children (siblings) who often get slighted
- other moms in the neighborhood
- all the feelings that go along with the above
While issues may vary across the developmental life of your child, some issues remain the same for the mother: issues such as grief, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, isolation, lack of emotional support, frustration, self-care (or lack thereof) and the incredible stress that is put on the marriage.
Because chronic stress has many inherent dangers to your emotional and physical health, it is important to address the issues that are causing it, to get adequate support and to learn healthy ways of coping with ongoing stressors. Individual therapy can be a good resource to help accomplish some of these goals.
Group therapy can also be a very good resource for dealing with the stressors of raising a child with special needs. To be with other mothers who share the same feelings and experiences as you can be healing and supportive. As the mother of a child with special needs and a psychotherapist, I know how important and valuable it is to get support and help.
If you are interested in individual or group therapy or if you have any questions, feel free to send email or call me at 215-858-7797.