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Recently, I read a question online about being a single parent with a special needs child. The question made me laugh a little because it had dating, and the word marriage in the same sentence. Most times when someone is interested in you and you have a special needs child, they think that the “specialness” may have come from you. That made me laugh. I am a 43 year old single parent of an 18 year old son who is Bi-Polar, mildly mental retarded, and has Aspergers Autisum… I was married to his father, who also has Bi-Polar. We divorced when our son was one.
I’ve been divorced for 17 long years. Raising a son is challenging without a father. Raising a special needs son, alone, without a father, mentor, church role model, without a man period has been mighty hard. The word hard, hardly expresses, being single with a special needs child.
Having a “different child”, requires you having a different life. I was married for three years, I have always wanted a big family, but things did not turn out the way I had hoped for. My focus turned toward helping my little boy to live and have the best that I could give him. He was always with me due to it being very difficult for someone to watch him, someone, family, who understood him being different. Men would look, call; maybe even come by…when my son was sleep. I cannot remember going on an actual date since I was married up until the present.
Having a special needs child does not mean you can’t date or get married, however, as for me…my focus was to take care of my son. We spent a lot of time at home, missing family gatherings, birthday parties, church outings, public settings altogether. My son would have emotional outbreaks, break things, walk off from an event, and or the children would pick on him. I felt like if he had to miss out on things, I would sacrifice and miss out on them too.
I wanted to date, I wanted to be married, I desired to have someone there to let me know that everything would be ok. You don’t have to have a special needs child to desire that…I was there for my son, but who would be there for me? I wanted to love and be loved.
I wanted someone to go to the doctor’s appointments with me, someone to be at the hospital, someone to be with me and help me make decisions at the meetings at school…someone to help me pick up and give medicine, someone to help me sign all the papers, all the release forms, someone to help me pray for my son as well as pray for me….it didn’t work out that way. God was there. He never left me even when under the pressure of having to do it alone. He always strengthened me.
The encouragement that I would give to single parents raising a special needs child is that God graces us to be able to take care of these unique kids. He knew that we had the special abilities to be able to handle life and the life of a special child. By all means if someone wants to date you, please don’t be like me, go out and enjoy life. You deserve it. Let someone cater to you, and cause you to feel special.
For you are special. You are not alone in having to care for your child or children. I encourage you to link up with other single parents that have a special needs child. There are many people who have not walked in our shoes, who do not understand the life we live.
I encourage you to lift up your head and know that God will send what we need, at the appointed time. He will give you the grace and peace you need to make it. People are afraid of what they don’t understand…I understand and I hope that this has helped someone in some way, and let you know that it will get better. Don’t give up, there is hope. BlessingsBuffer