Disabled people aren’t the only ones that struggle with acceptance and families do too, but more specifically parents have a real hard time with it. Parents often struggle with acceptance and in the beginning of your child’s diagnosis, you may even blame yourself for causing it. What did I do wrong during pregnancy that I could have done better to prevent all these struggles that my child is having? Guilt is common in families and some people can’t get past the guilt because they feel their child’s disability is their fault. Parents often will do whatever they can to make their child’s life easier but you can’t get rid of a disability that has no cure and has already happened. Disabled people will always have struggles and even if you are basically your child’s slave it still can’t take away the challenges of a disability and your best option is to teach them how to cope with it. Parents should not feel guilty about their child’s disability because some things in life you have no control over and happen for reasons you will never know but so many parents do feel responsible. If you are struggling with guilt as a parent here are some tips on how you can learn to accept your child’s diagnosis and get past the guilt.
Stop blaming yourself- Parents like disabled people also ask themselves why did this happen and sometimes blame themselves for their child’s disability. Disability can happen to anyone and even if you are taking all the precautions while your pregnant you can still have a disabled child because birth defects sometimes happen. There are so many disabilities like Spina Bifida that are treatable but experts don’t know the true cause of it and even if you are doing everything right you can’t prevent all disabilities from happening. Stop blaming yourself for your child’s disability and learn to love your disabled child because it is helping your disabled child journey to acceptance if you yourself can’t get over the guilt. If you did everything that you could during your pregnancy to prevent disability and it still happened don’t beat yourself up over it and learn to accept it. Stop feeling guilty for your child’s disability because disability can happen to anyone and even if you cry yourself to sleep every night wondering why it’s still not going to change your child’s disability. I sometimes wonder why I have a disability and none of my sisters do but I don’t cry myself to sleep thinking about it because it’s not the end of the world and sometimes you just have to remind yourself that everything happens for a reason. You may not know that reason but your child has a purpose and if they are struggling with finding it it’s up to you to help them. Disabled people need their parents to be strong because if you are acting like everything is going to crash and burn what do think that says to your child?
Focus on what your child can do not what they can’t- When you are a parent of a disabled child it is natural to want to do everything for your child to make their life easier but the truth is you can’t. I see a lot of parents focusing on everything their child can’t do and focusing on what our disabilities have taken from us. You will forever feel guilty for your child’s disability if you focus only on what we can’t do because of our disabilities but instead, you need to focus on what our disabilities haven’t ruined. Disability takes a lot from disabled people but there are also a lot of things that our disabilities don’t take from us and you need to put all your energy into that. Disabled people often try to focus on all the activities our disabilities don’t ruin but we aren’t the only ones that need to put all our energy into and families need to do it too. Disabled people don’t need to be reminded of everything we can’t do but need to be reminded of what we can.
Don’t look at disability as only a negative- When parents and families, in general, have a disabled child often the first thing people think about is what is bad about our disability. There are negatives to every disability but there are also some positives and you can’t just sit there and focus on all the negative things about our disabilities. A disability is not necessarily a bad thing because our disabilities are our identity and without them who knows what kind of person we would be.. Some families have a hard time seeing the positives because you only see the struggles and it’s so much easier to focus on that but if that is all you think about you will become depressed and never get over the guilt. It’s important you recognize a disabled person’s challenges so you can better support them but you shouldn’t always be in the mindset that everything is horrible because there are joys in living with a disability that sometimes we forget and need to be reminded of.
Hang around other disabled parents– Disabled people need to be a community surrounded by people who get but so do parents. Find a support group if you are struggling with acceptance and whether that is online or in person, it is important you surround yourself with people who get it. Some parents spend their days wondering if their child is going to be okay but if you find a community of other parents who are also in your situation you may come to understand that it will be. Parents need support systems like disabled people because although it’s hard for disabled people to accept that we aren’t getting better it’s hard for parents to watch their kids struggle and not be able to do anything about it.
Talk about it– A good way you can help normalize your child’s disability is by talking about it with people you trust to help them understand what a disability is and what it is not. Disabled people face a lot of stigma from abled people and often it’s because they are educated about our disabilities and have their own view of what they think it’s like but is probably totally wrong. Talking about your child’s disability is important because it normalizes disability and makes your child feel less alone. You don’t have to tell anyone about your child’s disability but parents that try too hard to hide their child’s disability from friends and family are not leading by example because it’s teaching kids to be shameful of being different. There are some things about a disability that people don’t need to know and is okay to keep it hidden but you should talk about it with your child because our disabilities as a whole should not be kept from us and disabled people will figure it out with or without the help of our parents. You don’t want to be that parent who hides important details about your child’s disability because at some point your child will have questions!
Disabilities can happen to anyone and for reasons, even experts can’t explain but even if you are constantly worrying about your child’s disability you shouldn’t blame yourself. There will be hard days when your disabled child struggles more than most but all you can do is love them and help them through it in the best way you can. As a parent, you can’t take away your child’s disability because if you could I know any parent would do it in a heartbeat if that was possible but you can let your children know they are not alone. Society often tells disabled people that it’s not worth it to live with a disability and that we all need to be cured of our disability to have a good life. Parents play a huge role in helping children understand that even though someone tells you your life isn’t worthy, that doesn’t make them right. There is no reason to feel guilty for your child’s disability unless you were doing harmful things during your pregnancy like smoking or drinking during pregnancy that you knew would probably cause birth you don’t need to get upset about it. I sometimes wonder why I have a disability and none of my sisters do but at the same time, I am grateful that none of my family can relate to my pain. My disability is frustrating but because of my disability, I have met so many great people and am able to help people in ways abled people cannot. I hope this post helped you get over the guilt of your child’s disability and if you have any other tips please leave them in the comments below.
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A beautiful and helpful post, Sarah. Thank you. 💕
My Rockin Disabled Life
Your welcome and I am glad you found this post helpful!