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Managing Your Stress, Part Three: New Normal

Getting settled into a new routine after a emergency or crisis is one of the hardest things I’ve had to handle as a mother of a special needs child. One of the tricky things about not having a diagnosis is that you never know if you’re looking at a new illness (virus, infection, etc.) or a new feature of the undiagnosed syndrome. It’s happened several times that the new problem has turned out to be another clue to the underlying syndrome and we’ve had to adjust what we’re doing to accommodate. So, that’s all well and good, but how do you do that?

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Managing Your Stress, Part One: Crisis vs. New Normal

This post is part of a three day series about how to handle stress when you’re bouncing back and forth between crisis and calm. I hope you find it helpful. I would love to hear about things YOU are doing to manage your stress.

There are two situations mothers of special needs children find themselves in more often than we would like to admit. The first is crisis situations. Many, although not all, of these land us in the hospital with our already struggling child. Once there, we fight fiercely to protect them from catching something even worse than what brought them in in the first place and engage in a constant power struggle with the hospital staff to let our children sleep. The second is what I call the, “new normal.” This frequently, though not always, comes after a crisis. Something has changed in our child’s condition and it’s changed the way that they and we have to live our lives. Identifying which of these two situations you’re in is key to properly handling your stress level.

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A Special Needs Mom’s Never Ending Battle with Feelings of Inadequacy

I spent the first twenty or so years of my life judging my worth by grades. After that, it was job title and salary. It wasn’t until almost thirty that my son was born and his medical difficulties turned everything I knew about how to measure myself upside down. Some Moms compete over who has the sickest child, but that’s just not me. I’m perfectly happy when my son needs less medical intervention than someone else’s. I want him to be able to blend into a crowd and let something define him besides his health. At the end of the day, I’m left with no way to define myself good or bad. It leaves me feeling completely out of my depth. For every new thing I learn, there’s ten more things I need to work on.

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