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We All Have the Right to Dream: Fear, Parenting, and Having a Child with Special Needs

What does fear mean to me? Fear is an immobilizing feeling that limits your response to the risk or threat presented to you. Throughout life, we feel scared on several occasions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes that fear is real and in response to a real threat, but sometimes it’s a learned feeling that comes from a prejudice or preconceived notion. When this happens, it’s a fear of something we don’t know but feel unable to face, something like becoming the parent of a child with special needs. 

Having a child with special needs is not a choice, at least it shouldn’t be a choice to give up a child just because of a disability. There’s nothing impossible to tackle with unconditional love. In my experience, it’s when you set prejudice aside that the fear subsides, leaving room for that parental love. Those prejudices and fears can lead us to use comparisons to evaluate a child’s capacity to be happy or successful by what he can do or what he can be, and that’s just not real. Your child is unique and regardless of his condition, your child will live life to it’s fullest if he or she is loved without hesitation.

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Fear as a parent can take you in the wrong direction. It forces you to be guided by the preconceived notion that, in order to be happy, a child needs to fulfill society’s expectations. There’s no such a thing, and a child with a disability is not a burden. He or she is a child like any other, with special needs like everyone else, even if those needs may seem more obvious than another’s.

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It is natural for a parent to be fearful after an unexpected diagnosis, but when the fear itself overcomes our ability to welcome our own child into the world with unconditional love, we’re depriving both him and ourselves of the miracle of that love. It takes over and you may be losing the opportunity to learn to love your child unconditionally and completely. Perfection is only an illusion; real perfection is imperfect. We are all different, and our child will always be the most perfect to us in part due to all of his or her imperfections. If as parents we don’t trust love, we have nothing left and we give nothing to our children.

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Life is not a perfect plan where everything happens as desired. When we become parents, we realize that life is much more than a well-set schedule. We must give up the illusion of total control to understand that living one day at a time may be exciting and fulfilling enough. Embracing parenthood is to understand that when love becomes life, we’ll never again be the same, and we’ll never again think of ourselves as individuals first.

Fear is human and it is an important part of understanding and accepting our own frailness, when we discover that loving something so much make us fragile. That’s being a parent; a lesson conformed by several little chapters that make our lives whole.

Don’t let fear deprive you from the most wonderful experience of learning that love is able on its own, that love is perfect and there’s no more intense and perfect feeling than the love for your own child. Love has no prejudice, and you shouldn’t either.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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