WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Caregivers are NOT Victims

This post was on Facebook a couple weeks ago and every time I think about it I have become even more offended, horrified and shocked any person would ever feel this way.

Caregivers are often the casualties,the hidden victims. No one see's the sacrifices they make.
Judith Long

Victims? Sacrifices??? What a bunch of self indulgent,selfish baloney.


I feel the same way about "Me Time"- again if you need to have "me time" in order to be a parent? You should never have had children. From the second that child starts growing in your womb, "me time" should NEVER be a priority, that child, that gift is first, forever.

The moment you decide to become pregnant or adopt, you will be a caregiver, a parent, and second in line for the rest of your life. Out of all the gifts in my life, the ones I hold dearest are that I have children I can work for, I can love, I can give to, I can help, I can support, I can share with, I can put FIRST.

If you see being a parent of an ill child makes you a victim? Don't have children. You had no business having children if you are unable to rejoice in their life with all of their individual traits that make each of us so special.

No pity. No sorrow. No envy. No resentment.

If you think you have been dealt a bad hand and deserve more from your family,society, community because your child is sick? You have a major problem. You KNEW when you got pregnant that children come to us as individuals with individual needs and wants. You KNEW you had to be willing to put your needs aside for your child be it that they be gifted or disabled.

Each child is unique.

If your child is sensitive or shy each time other children say something cruel or the world is insensitive your heart will break with theirs. If you child is gifted? You will have sleepless nights wondering if the choices you make for their education will allow them to embrace their unique gift and have a happy life or if those choices will forever taint and limit their academic strengths and views on society. If your child is a gifted ballerina or athlete you will struggle to pay the bills, to travel with them for training, to find equal time for your other children and have many sleepless nights wondering what their future holds and how the choices you make will impact their happiness and success as adults.

No matter what traits your child has, there will be hard decisions,but what a gift that you are are trusted with these decisions.

It doesn't matter who your child is, what is unique or different or normal about them, parenting is the hardest job and the biggest joy any person can experience, you are NOT a victim. You are lucky, very very lucky.

When you consider yourself a victim or that parenting a disabled child is a sacrifice? You need to really take a deep look at yourself and set your priorities straight. Your child, with all their unique traits is the greatest gift, and if they have special needs that give you the opportunity to work harder? You are even luckier. You have been given the opportunity to make an even bigger impact.

I am not saying there won't be days that seem to last forever, or days you feel so weary you wonder how you will make it till bedtime, what I am saying is when you do lie your head to your pillow you should feel lucky to have been gifted with children. Not just when they are babies, or toddlers or children or teens.. every single day for the rest of your life.

Gifted not victim.


Reagan Leigh said...

I totally understand what you're saying...BUT some are living MUCH different lives. With children 100% dependent on them...newborns for life! I've grown to realize we special needs parents should not be scrutinizing each other (whether it be our decision to vaccinate or not, to complain and whine about our situation, etc...), we need to support each other! Everyone has tough days where they feel like throwing in the towel, some are just better about making light of it and keeping positive!

Reagan Leigh said...

Now, don't get me wrong...I hate the whole ME time thing...and the notion that people (parents) think they're entitled to it (but I admit it sure sounds nice at times)! And I also cringe when I hear of people going on family vacations and leaving their special needs child at home!!! Buuutttt, we really do have to support one another, because if we don't, who will?!?!

Diane said...

I cannot imagine you considering yourself a "victim" :-) Sadly too many parent do. I think this could apply to any parent- too many see themselves as "victims" instead of seeing themselves as being given the most amazing opportunity they will ever have - to be a parent. The challenges you will face will be different then the ones I struggle with when it comes to Abby but we all get 52 cards as Mom's.. and the struggles the Mother of a Priest will face, or the Mother of a Marine, doesn't matter, no child is more or less then the next, it is all the same despite different challenges,different strengths ,different traits, a child no matter their gifts or challenges is a gift - not a sacrifice, or victim.. I actually was inspired by Abby to write this- she read that post on facebook too and said "I feel horribly sorry for any child who's parent feels like a victim because their child is who their child is"

Diane said...

We also need to be honest. believe me I have had my time on the old pity pot! :-) But the support groups are very very peer pressure based. I don't always think being PC for the sake of not making waves does a lot of good. I am not saying they have been bad parents, but I find that they are so unaware of what they are missing, the purpose.. As far as Me time? I am not saying you shouldn't have it(when my work is done and they are cared for and content I steal a moment when I can!), I am pointing out those who prioritize their me time before prioritizing their children. That is not just a special need issue - parenting on a universal scale these days. Children are forced to fit the family, vs the family adapting to the child and what is best for the child.

Clarissa said...

I mostly agree with you, Diane, for sure I don't feel like a victim... but I have wonder what life would have been like if Abigail were healthy (not without Abigail, tho!)... and even looked at others (like my 3 older sisters, all with a bunch of healthy kids!) and wonder why I am the one living this life? But, I KNOW that its all a matter of perspective, I can be joyful and thankful with what I have now regardless of the illness that affects my daughter... and my children are my greatest blessing, my only desire was to be a wife and mom and I am living that and so very thankful for it! My life literally revolves around my husband and kids and I rarely need a "break", but I do admit, I look forward to the one day a month that my husband & I take the day to do shopping and a little dinner date together without our kids (they stay with my oldest sister for the day)... But, always, I believe in doing what is BEST for my kids! and I think it is good for my kids to get out of the house and spend time with their cousins, too... so it works for us all! ;) we have given up a lot for Abigail, but I am shocked that people would expect otherwise... we all (those with healthy children or not) should expect to give up the life we had before children and become a parent first and foremost as we are trusted with the innocent lives to raise! I have told some of my friends that homeschooling & being a mom to a terminally ill child.. is the same as parenting in general... its hard, but so worth it!!

Diane said...

Ty for your post! I really really did not mean no "me time" when I wrote it, but more of what you said, that children come first- then the parent, not vice versa. :-) I certainly take my "me time" once the family is cared for, and feel no shame! But, I certainly don't need "me time" to be a good parent.. :-) I struggle to get my thoughts down in any type of comprehendible way and often don't realize how many ways the word can be read given a variable in context. :-)

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