Dear Moms Like Me
I know; it’s been one of those days. I have them too. Days when you feel like everything you thought you knew about being a mom isn’t working. Days when you feel like you need to go back to “Mom School.” Days when you feel that surely someone else out there could mother your child better than you are right now. I know.
Here’s the bottom line. You’re it. You’re the one that’s there in the morning waiting to see if your child is going to wake up in a good mood or a bad mood. You’re the one that shakes your head because your child is hungry, crying for food, yet rejects everything you offer. You’re the one who cringes a tiny bit when you ask your child for a hug because you’re bracing yourself for being rejected again. You’re the one who is exhausted because it’s been one of those days where your child actually does want you–not only wants you but won’t let you breath for a minute and panics if you leave the room.
I was reminded recently that I need to view my child’s emotional limitations and woundedness the same way I would view a physical limitation or wound. I wouldn’t dream of getting upset with a paralyzed child for not being able to get up out of his wheelchair. I wouldn’t dream of yelling at a child with a crooked back because she can’t sit up straight. It’s sound ridiculous. And, yet, because my child’s wound is hidden, I forget some moments, some days, that it is a wound indeed. It’s not my child’s fault that they were deprived of all the basic first needs of life–love, touch, words of affirmation, exercise, nutrition, peaceful sleep. . . . It’s just not her fault. My child is not out to get me. My child just doesn’t know how to love or be loved. My child doesn’t trust and struggles with fears that I may never truly understand.
The term “special needs” takes on a whole new meaning with an emotionally wounded child. Special needs like needing to say my name over and over and over again just to reassure herself that I am indeed “Momma.” Special needs like the need to push my buttons or repeat annoying behavior, just to see if I will reject her, because rejection is so familiar and for some crazy reason feels safe. Special needs like pressing herself hard into my body with an awkward, tense snuggle because she’s just learning how to snuggle and the sensation of being close to someone warm and safe is overwhelming. It’s good; It’s scary. I like it; It’s unfamiliar.
A wise man once told me, “Your weak love is better than no love at all.” I remind myself of this on those days when I feel like I just blew it all the way around. I didn’t really blow it. I was there. I held her. I fed her. I played. I may not have done it all perfectly, but who does. You’ve had those days too. Remember though, tomorrow is a new day. Another chance to stress less and love more. Another chance to see more clearly and not take it personally. Another chance to have a sense of humor instead of a meltdown.
Hey Moms like me, you’re doing it. It’s hard work. You’re not alone. You’re loving those who were once considered unlovable. You’re looking beyond what you see on the outside and not giving up until you find what on the inside. I’m really proud of us.
A Mom Who Knows
P.S. You’re not alone. I promise.
Tracie Loux and her husband John are parents to 7 children, having just added to their family with their newest son born October 20th. They have 3 biological children ages 18, 14, and 12 and 4 adopted children (two adopted domestically at birth and two adopted as toddlers from Ukraine) ages 3, 4, 4, and nearly 2 weeks. Their two children from Ukraine are special needs children (one has Down syndrome and one has fetal alcohol syndrome), and their new son Matthias also has Down syndrome. Tracie works as an adoption consultant for Christian Adoption Consultants as well as serving as the Adoption Family Coordinator for Hannah’s Dream Adoptions in Kansas City, MO. Both Tracie and John desire to see the Body of Christ embrace James 1:27 as a tangible way of walking out the gospel and are in the process of launching an adoption ministry called Project 686. You can follow their family’s journey here. You can also read more about Tracie’s work as an adoption consultant here. The Loux’s are available for adoption workshops or speaking events; email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.