Special needs parent friends.

Since having a child with Special needs my friendship circle has drastically reduced.
It is not anyones fault, it is just the way things go.
People grow up, grow apart and move on.

When I realised my child had additional needs,  that required diagnosis and extra care, I didn’t realise how drastic the change would be.
Friends became distant.
It became hard for me to ring and text.
It became hard for me to reach out.
I just didn’t have the time, both my day and my thoughts were consumed with my child.
I didn’t forget about my friends, I just didn’t have time to engage with them….
….and then they were gone.

I don’t want you to think I am having a pity party, I am just sharing this because I know I am not the only one to feel this way.
Neither is this about blame, I understand that I am as much to blame as everyone else.
I just want your willingness to understand and your acceptance.

Parenting a child with special needs can be daunting, lonely and isolating.
I don’t want peoples pity or people to be my friend because they feel like they should be.
I want someone to be there for me, to hug me, and still love me after endless one way talk of my child and their disabilities!
I want someone who will listen but not judge.
Someone who accepts that I just need to get it all off my chest, and then we can move on.
And eat cake.

Sometimes….most times….I feel like I will be unable to keep a friend.
Being a special needs Mum can become quite selfish.
Selfish in the way that mostly all I will talk about is my child, the diagnosis and the difficulties we are having.
I may be so caught up in our world that I even forget to ask about yours.
I get scared that people will stop asking, stop ringing, stop texting, because they can’t cope with the drama of my life.
The endless drama.
Sometimes it is easier if people do stop asking; at least then when they ask how things are going they won’t have to stand and listen to the essay of things that are happening.

I wonder if I should shield my friends from my life.
I want them to see me, not the person whose life revolves around my childs disabilities….
…BUT this is my life. This is me.

I have a smaller friendship circle now and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
They all have something in common.
They are all the same as me!
They are all parents of children with additional needs.
There is a bond that keeps us together.
We all know and understand, we ‘get it’.
We walk in their shoes, we fight the same fights.
They understand the stress and complications.
They understand the joy we feel with small achievements.
They don’t give us pity, or tell us they are sorry, they give us a good talking too and signpost us in the direction of accessing appropriate help.

We had the pleasure of having a close friend over to our house today.
A mum of a child with Autism and a neurotypical child.
They just fit in.
No trying.
The neurotypical siblings have an instant connection, a sibling with additional needs in common.
They connect. That unspoken trust.

My friend and I have nothing to prove to one another, we accept each other for who we are.
We talk and talk about Autism and all things special needs related.
She is always there for me. Always….
….to laugh with me, to cry with me, to make me see sense, and eat cake!
Most importantly, she loves my children.
She loves and understands everything about them, because her situation is the same so she can relate to how we are feeling,and the behaviours she sees.
She accepts my child, whilst allowing my child to be their true self.
There is pressure in a sudden cancelled playdate, or a change to the activity.
There is no fear that she will never accept an invite again. She understands.

I feel blessed to have her around.
Comfortable enough with her to share my problems.
She provides support, not sympathy.
My child loves her too, and will gladly let her into our home; my childs safe place.

I don’t think it is co-incidence that we became friends.
I think our children and their additional needs brought us together…
….and I am forever grateful for that. ❤

….that and my girl made cake!


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