By: Jane Kleinman
Your life as a special needs parent might never become "easy".
This is a reality many of us struggle with every day. On top of the IEP fights, dealing with PerformCare/DDD, the scheduling of therapists, the emotional ups and downs of successes and setbacks, the juggling of home, work, siblings, extended family, and regular daily life...
The relentless reality of this can sometimes hit us
like a ton of bricks.
It's enough to send us into the bathroom with a glass of wine just to get some peace, or to want to stay in bed all day.
I have been right where you are.
I felt like I was drowning in my responsibilities and that I would never again have any life of my own. I developed resentment toward my husband, who was struggling as the sole breadwinner so I could be home with my son to see him through his days of therapy, and then school. Occasionally, I got a night out, but I was so starving for fulfillment, that it never felt like enough, and then I felt guilty for feeling ungrateful. It seemed I could never get in front of somehow feeling BAD about whatever I was doing. No matter how overwhelmed I was with trying to help my son, manage the house, be a good spouse, and a good parent to my typically developing daughter, it never felt like enough, and no matter what I did, I always felt gulity! I was yelling at my kids, my husband….I was miserable.
I needed to learn a NEW way to interact with the chronic struggle of my own life, so I turned to a practice that had always helped me before I became a parent. Yoga had always taken me away from my stress, relaxed and soothed me, and helped me feel happier, but getting away from my life to practice yoga once I had my son seemed impossible. But I knew that I had to do something, so I made a commitment to start small. One yoga class whenever I could, just to get back into moving and breathing and feeling something other than despair. After a bit, I gave myself permission to be away from my responsibilities for 90 minutes a week, and you know what happened? Nothing. And EVERYTHING.
Nothing fell apart, and no disasters ensued. All my responsibilities were still there when I came back from class. But EVERYTHING about how I dealt with my life, how I handled the stress, how I felt about my challenging life DID change. I decided to pursue a long held goal to get my yoga teacher certification, and that’s when I really learned how to make my life my yoga practice, and nothing has ever been the same since. I still have challenging times, don’t get me wrong. My son is 16 (puberty stinks), and in many ways, this year has felt as bad as any of those earlier years, but NOW I have the tools I need, and the connection to a profoundly deep inner knowing that I am one breath away from less stress, one movement away from less fatigue, one meditation away from deep peace.
Until I learned how to bring the practices that I learned "on the mat" INTO my daily life, I knew that I'd continue to be impatient with my family, struggle to feel fulfilled, feel constantly overwhelmed by the enormity of my task, and forever feel inadequate to deal with it.
So, I learned how to breathe in the middle of a stressful situation and what kind of breathing would help. I learned to use the physical body that I have (with all it's perceived "imperfections") to bring me back down to earth when things felt like they were spinning out of control.
And most importantly, I learned to recognize, appreciate and CELEBRATE the monumental job I do every single day, and to be ok with myself even when I felt like I came up short one day.
THIS is how you handle it. THIS is how you go on when it feels like it's too much.
THIS is why I created
The Calm Within The Chaos,
A Yoga Circle for Parents of Kids with Disabilities
And I can help you to learn how as well.
- We will learn to breathe to help ease stress and anxiety.
- We will learn to move our bodies in ways that feel safe, soothing and keep us grounded when
we feel out of control.
- We will see our own greatness reflected back to us as we share our struggles and triumphs as only another parent raising a child with special needs can understand.
This step-by-step guidance and loving support will help you to feel more relaxed, more able to cope with the challenges you face each day, and more like the person you may remember you once were, but have long ago put to the side because you think you must put all of yourself into your child.
- Don't spend another day beating yourself up for what you did "wrong" or how you weren't "enough".
- Don't go to another stressful IEP meeting without knowing a breathing technique that can help you feel your inner strength and power.
- Don't spend another five minutes in the bathroom just to get a break. (Ok, the bathroom is always a good place to go, but learn to use your time in there to recharge!)
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