Delivering a baby whom you carried in your womb for nine months, more or less, is a very satisfying and heavenly experience. More so, if the baby is the very first of the new mom. Even if the baby is SPECIAL. A mother’s unconditional love simply explains this feeling.
Only a mom can give this nurturing love , and our special needs mom, Lee can attest to this, on how she wholeheartedly accepted her son Mark, whom she found out only at birth as having Down syndrome.
Lee is married and blessed with four kids, 3 girls and a boy. Her eldest is now in university, while the other two young ladies are in high school and all are doing good, all of them with honours.
Mark, her only son, is the youngest and presently enrolled in a Special education program.
How old were you when you had Mark and how did you know that he was special?
” I was 42 when I delivered my baby and I knew right away when I saw him at the delivery room that he was special based on his facial features. I had a sister who also had Down syndrome but she passed away a few years back and so their features are quite familiar to me. “
Tell me about your special son.
” Mark’s Down syndrome comes with a congenital heart disease. Because of his heart problem, he had on and off cough and colds when he was younger. It is only mild though, with no shortness of breath or bluish discoloration of his nails and lips.
He is a jolly kid who loves watching sports on television, especially motorcycle and car races. He would jump with joy when he enjoys watching his favorite shows. He would keep on groaning if you are watching your own show in TV and then he will stop and jump when you switch the show to his.
At eleven years old, he is still unable to talk but communicates in his own way, like if he wants to watch TV, he will hold your hand and bring you close to where the plug of the TV is.
He can walk on his own, but still needs full assistance in eating. He is not yet fully toilet-trained as well.”
How did you and your family react to the news that he is special?
” I was initially shocked because I had no idea when I was pregnant about having a special baby. Then, I was depressed for awhile. I guess I was unprepared emotionally during his birth.
Eventually my maternal instinct kicked in and I was on my way. Our whole family just got together and pooled our love and support for him.
Because I lived with Pangga, my sister with Down syndrome, until I got married, I saw how she developed slowly, and eventually became partially independent. Same thing, Mark’s sisters and my husband observed first hand how Pangga was, so it was somehow easy for us to accept Mark and just be there for him to show our unconditional love. “
Related posts: Down Syndrome- Signs and Life Expectancy
Do you have any fears about his future?
” Yes, because Mark is special, he will be dependent on us throughout his lifetime and I don’t know when we get older if we can still take care of him or if we pass away, who will be responsible for him. I just hope that later on, he will learn to take care of himself and be productive.
I guess parents always think about the future of their kids especially if they have special needs. “
Did you have any struggles on caring for him and how did you manage?
” Taking care of Mark has been a challenge and still is, because he always needs special attention, especially since he has a congenital heart disease. Of course we also have to understand how he behaves, because until now, he is non-verbal.
I remember he had several episodes of convulsion with fever when he was around 4 years old and he was admitted to the hospital for several days. It was then that we realized that we could lose him and that we really love him dearly.
With the support of my family, and him getting more independent, things are becoming better and easier each day. “
Is he having therapies or attending Special Education?
” Mark is seeing a Pediatric cardiologist at least once a year and he has maintenance medicines for his heart.
For the last four years, he has been going to a Special Education program from Monday to Thursday for one and a half hours in the morning in a class of 3-4 kids. At first, he did not want to sit down in the chair and would just roam around the classroom. Eventually, with the continuous support of his teacher, Mark learned to sit still and do some sensory play and simple lessons.”
Do you have advices that you can give to parents, especially moms, on how to take care of a special child?
” Love your special child no matter what. Be very patient with him or her.
Provide your kid with everything that you feel he needs for him to grow up like a normal kid.
Taking care of your special child brings lots of struggles and you just have to accept them as challenges that you can always hurdle. Always ask the help of your family, even your extended families and friends, because you need every help that they can offer, otherwise you will always feel overwhelmed and stressed.
You also have to take care of yourself so you can always be there for him and your whole family. Find time to go out with your friends. Do things that you love to do on your own or with the rest of your family and friends.
I am a member of our church choir as well as the office choir. I’ve always loved to sing and our regular practice and performances give me joy and relaxation. Singing in church and in programs give me inner peace and profound happiness. I feel I am always blessed and ready to give my all to my family and my special needs child after I attend mass.”
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Having a special child is indeed a blessing
Truly, these special kids maybe a challenge to take care of, but usually they are the darlings in the family, they bring so much joy and love to the whole family, every time and everyday.
Support from the family, especially the spouse and the other siblings and relatives as well as the whole community is of utmost importance for our special kids to thrive and develop fully.
They are God’s blessings and angels in our midst.
Kudos to Lee and all special needs moms and parents who offer unconditional love to their special needs children. You all deserve praise and recognition for making our special kids grow up to be the best version of themselves.
As a special needs mom/parent, how do you show your unconditional love for your special child? Please share your experiences with us.
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