Understanding and overcoming my guilt

When I first wrote about feeling guilt over my son’s special needs, I had no idea it would strike a chord with so many.

It seems as though all parents – whether their child has special needs or not – bears a certain mount of guilt over their children. So much more so with every parent of a special needs child I have spoken to.

We all have the same demons that swirl in our heads: What did I do wrong? Should I have done this? Could this have happened because I did this? Why didn’t I do this differently? Would my child be “normal” if it weren’t for me?

Here is something I have to continually preach to myself, maybe it will help you as you walk on this journey:

Guilt is a heavy burden to bear. It weighs you down, picks at scabs, pours salt in wounds and whispers insults.

You don’t have to listen. You are not required to carry that load. You don’t have to provide the salt and you can put a bandage over the scabs.

The fact that I carry this guilt around is my choice – even though I don’t want to admit that. I am the one who continues to pick up that baggage and toss it over my shoulder. My child doesn’t look at me and think “Why did you do this to me?” My husband doesn’t wonder how much I contributed to this issue.

This guilt is me – all me. It’s my insecurities and uncertainties.

So today, I am going to start unpacking that guilt backpack. I don’t want to carry it anymore. I plan to unzip it, and unload it one item at a time, until it is empty. I won’t pick it back up and lug it along. I will silence the little imp that tries to whisper to me.

My child is precious – just as he is. All of his special needs are part of him – and part of who he is. I couldn’t control whether he had blond hair or brown hair, or eyes of blue or green. I can’t control anything about him.

I’m setting the bag down – would you like to do the same?