Let me start by saying that I am so grateful to be fortunate enough to have access to treatments and therapies for my child that will help her become a completely normal little girl. I’m glad that there are options out there for families with kids with special needs, and I know that most parents see these services as blessings in a fog of uncertainty and unknowns.
My daughter is currently receiving Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. She is also seeing an infant specialist. Together, they are all working with her to bridge the two-month developmental gap that she has when compared to her same-aged peers.
This gap is basically nothing, and I know that things could be much, much more dire.
And of course, I’m incredibly happy to know that there are only two little months of development that separate my daughter from her peers. After this treatment is over, my daughter will probably look like everyone else’s kid and this is such a relief.
I should be ecstatic and rejoicing in this knowledge. But instead, I often feel like a failure as a mom.
You see, every time my daughter goes to one of her appointments, the peppy therapist tells me what she can do and what she can’t do, and I’m given homework to help her on her developmental path. Her incremental progress is celebrated, but instead of hearing this information as helpful, for some reason, it always feels critical.
It always feels like I’m not doing enough as a parent to help my child catch up.
I start feeling guilty that I’m at work and that I can’t devote the desired two hours a day to help her with her core strength or her fine motor skills. I feel like I’m letting my baby down because when I get home, it’s all about maintenance and less about treatment. And I feel even worse when her care coordinator suggests that they add in an infant educator to basically do what I should be doing at home.
In my critical mind, I tell myself that this is because I’m failing my daughter and, as such, I have to pay someone to do my job for me. This self-degrading loop goes off in my head after EVERY appointment.
I’m so ashamed because I know that this is not reality and it is definitely not helpful.
My wonderful husband tries to assuage my fears by telling me that these people are here to HELP. He reminds me they are not critical of me or my parenting, and they certainly aren’t critical of my daughter. This does help me. But every time I get a note at the end of the therapy session, anything that looks even a little bit critical makes me spiral downward yet again.
I’m working on trying to change that. To combat this trend, I try to focus on what matters.
The fact is, since my daughter started these therapies a month ago, she can now do such great things including:
- crawling on all fours instead of army crawling
- standing and cruising along furniture
- putting toys in containers and pulling them out
- eating food with vigor
- using purposeful fine motor skills
- standing unassisted for a second here and there
- inspecting objects with curiosity
She is advancing SO quickly, and I know that therapeutic help is making all the difference.
And I will try to focus on the fact that my own insecurities have nothing to do with my baby and everything to do with my own negative reaction to perceived criticism. So while I work on undoing that vicious cycle, I will look at my daughter and smile more. Because in a few more months, her delays will be negligible. And really, that is the best thing a parent could ask for.