Carer friendships.

Friendships.
For parents with children who have special needs.
Something I struggled with for a long time.
As soon as my girl started off on the road to diagnosis, things changed.
My friends, the ones I needed reassurance and support from, changed.
The ‘she will grow out of its’, the ‘mine used to do that’, the ‘let me have her for a week and I will sort her out’ started.
Support? Reassurance?
In their own way I guess they were trying to help, but those are the last things I needed to hear.
Here I was admitting to them that I believed there was something different about my child.
This took courage. It was hard.
I wanted them to say, ‘yes, we thought something was different’ or ‘ok, we will be here if you need a chat’….
….just something other than replanting that tiny seed of doubt over and over again.     

Those friendships dwindled and when I got the diagnosis, they fizzled out to nothing.
I look back on myself as a different person.
The diagnosis has changed me.  
I see things from different perspectives now.
I can put myself in other peoples shoes.
I am the one who looks at a child having a meltdown in a supermarket and gives the carer a reassuring look, or ask if they are ok, rather than that person who judges them on the behaviour.     

Special needs parents have been given an opportunity to understand differences, to accept differences, because all we know are differences.
Normal isn’t a word we use.

Is it coincidence that all my friends now are special needs parents/carers?

I don’t think it is.

Friendships are about accepting someone for the person they are, the differences they may have.
Friends need something in common, friends need people who understand, friends need things they can relate to.
Telling a carer of a ‘neurotypical’ child about your child on the spectrums meltdown that wrecked your house and bruised your arm, isn’t going to get the same response as a special needs mum.
The horror of this is not of importance to the special needs mum, as this is what she lives. She seeks reassurance.
She seeks similar stories.

We become carers for each other.
We become best friends.

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