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Have you ever felt embarrassed by your child with special needs? I have.

Recently, my son had yet another surgery. It was simple and quick. We were in and out of the hospital in a few hours, but a few days before, my son was messaging family and friends to pray for him. I felt embarrassed. I thought:

This surgery doesn’t need prayer.
We’re being an inconvenience to people.
Let’s save these requests for when it’s really big.

What I didn’t realize is that this was my son’s way of processing his trauma. Experts on trauma say that new trauma actually surfaces past trauma. It’s never a “I’ve been there done that, this is easy.” He needed to walk through the same routines he’s done for every surgery since he’s been cognizant enough to understand the situations he’s experiencing.

The night before the procedure, I began to be irritable, short with my family, and frustrated. I understood that the same thing was happening to me. Every time we go into another major appointment, medical procedure, or surgery I disconnect from my feeling. I disconnect from the people around me. I disconnect, sometimes, even from God. I’m trying to protect myself.

Do you ever feel disconnected? Do you ever go into another appointment, surgery, IEP meeting, and think, I’ve done this before, this should get easier?

But it doesn’t. It’s never JUST another surgery. It’s never JUST another IEP meeting, or behavioral plan, or blood draw…you fill in the blank.

So, what should we do? Here’s a few practical things I’m learning.

  • Acknowledge it’s not “JUST”
  • Name what you’re feeling
  • Feel the feelings (cry, punch a pillow, write it out, talk to a friend)
  • Put the armor on, but remember to take it off again
  • Pray, God help me in this. Even if that’s all you can utter.

This month on the podcast, we’re talking about seeing a counselor or therapist, the benefits, barriers, and what we didn’t expect.

Learning to lean into my story has helped a lot. Having the courage to share it with others even more.

If you have any questions or want to continue this conversation, feel free to reply to this e-mail.

Authored By:

Carrie M. Holt

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