Reclaiming My Voice
Do you know that there are seven-and-a-half billion people in the world and that we’re all unique human beings?
What does this mean? It means that generally speaking, people have their own thoughts, beliefs and visions, AND that those are a lot of thoughts, beliefs and visions to try and understand, keep up with, or compare yourself with.
When you think of it, we could never personally know all seven billion people on the planet. Through social media and news articles, we feel that we have an idea of popular thoughts, beliefs, etc. on certain issues; even when we do not know the people linked to them. Yet, we allow these people to have an impact on how we feel.
Then there are acquaintances and people whom we know socially who also impact how we see ourselves and judge ourselves.
Why is it though that we ignore the most important person in our live - ourself?
At the beginning of this crazy journey of being a parent of a child with special needs, I spent too much time listening to the thoughts, beliefs and visions of those around me. How was it possible that people who I barely knew could make me feel so incompetent, lazy, unorganized by the thoughtless things they said.
There were those who were closer and supported me, yet, sometimes would share thoughts and beliefs that were different from my own.
Why was it so hard to listen to the sound of my own thoughts and beliefs? What happened to that voice I had used so often before?
For me personally, I felt stripped of all control over my daughter when we learned that Summer had global development delay (delays in gross motor, fine motor and speech). We spent a lot of time at the children’s hospital doing tests and giving blood, yet no one had answers for us - there was no reason for her global development delay. How does one plan for the next day, the next week, the next year when there is no foundation upon which to build those thoughts, beliefs and visions?
Maybe this was the time when I started to borrow other people’s thoughts, beliefs and visions because it was easier? When Summer was first diagnosed, motherhood was very chaotic, so I choose the ‘easy button’ in other areas of my life.
It took me a few years to find my voice, but connecting with fellow caregivers and sharing my experiences, helped rebuild the confidence that I had in myself as Summer’s mother and caregiver. No one knows my child better than I do. I must do what is best for our family when selecting therapies and activities. Just because a certain routine works for one family, does not mean that it will work for my family.
These sound like such basic statements, but when you, as a caregiver, are facing the unknown, sometimes it is tempting to borrow someone else’s success plan and vision.
The great thing about time is that it passes and with that, we usually grow wiser, more competent, and much more aware of what and who makes us feel good. My time is so precious that when I am not with the kids, I spend it wisely - that means surrounding myself with good friends, listening to positive podcasts, reading inspirational books and taking time for myself.
The most beautiful evolution has been caring less about what others think and believe and not letting them get inside of my head and upset me. They do not deserve my precious time or energy.