Why You Should Be Friends With Other Special Need Mothers.

One of the basic nature of friendship is that it cannot be forced or pretended. This is one relationship which is beyond social obligations and the DNA spectrum and  is truly fulfilling and rewarding.

We have different friends for different times. we know if we want to go out shopping right at this minute, who would be happy to accompany us without giving hundred excuses; we know if we want to gossip about ‘Mrs. Clooney’  who would be there to get a cup of tea to dissect the nonexistent topic, and we also know if we want to cry our heart out after a not so good day who would have all the time in the world to listen to us without telling ‘I told you so’. The truth is that a lot of times these three friends are different people unless you are really lucky to have found all these qualities in one.

special need mothers

A few years ago I started to realise that my friends who have no other connection to the world of disability other than being my friends, were being subjected to my overdose of worries, fears and other issues which they  never signed up for in the first place. These were the people who helped me overcome a lot of pain after the diagnosis of my daughter but soon I realised that I was being selfish thinking that they would be equally interested in discussing another medical problem, another behavioural issue or my struggles with the school. They were and still are happy to discuss all that  but to make it a two way traffic it was equally important for me to talk about things where  we both could participate and that topic couldn’t have been disability, which subconsciously became one of the major focus of my life then.

I also realised that when the similar things were being discussed in the groups of other mothers of children with special needs, everybody was participating with equal interest and giving their additional inputs too. This was natural since we all had the same challenges and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a good idea to be friends with other mothers? I mean yes, we were already kind of friends but I meant better friends, ‘pick up the phone and call anytime friends’. I wondered if one can plan or try a friendship at an age where I was.  When I was in school, I used to think these friends are going to suffice me for life and then the college happened, I made new friends. A few stayed but most of them left. I have had the most meaningful friendships at workplace which are still going strong.

special need mothers

I wondered if I was analysing too much and if being just the acquaintance who happen to share a common thread should be enough? Yes, you can’t be friends with everybody who has a child with special needs and in the initial few days after the diagnosis of my daughter, I was trying not to be too close to anybody but my old friends. It was weird  but my denial was working overtime. It’s been a long time since then and now I realise how important it is to form a bond with other mothers because there are things which nobody would understand. not your parents, not your siblings and sometimes not even your friends, no matter how sensitive they are.

It is also equally rewarding for the child if he or she has another set of people apart from the family who they are comfortable with.  I have talked to my new found special friends  about my deepest fears and heartfelt desires for my children because I know they would just understand. I, at one point had also thought if it was a friendship of convenience? But my heart denied labelling a friendship that has a common core with such demeaning worldly words.

I had read that in some parts of the world people don’t even like to be approached by other mothers in a mall or other public places even if their children happens to have the same disability. I find it pretty amusing because I think our children librate us in so many ways that all that anybody should feel when approached is the empathy, the emotions and to know another traveller in this shared journey. One sincere hug or a pat on the back from another mother can take away a lot of pain and I have felt this a number of times.

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I am glad I tried reaching out to mothers and also that I received similar responses from a few of them. I have met these wonderful mothers who I can call my really good friends. We have talked for hours, have cried sharing our journey, have laughed on our children’s antics,  have hugged and have done a lot of friendship in just a few meetings. We had so much to talk about that we never stopped. The realisation that the relationships that are build on the similar challenges can be so intense, has been quite overwhelming and satisfying.

special need mothers

I am proud that I’ve gone out with these women to watch movies with and without the kids! I can leave my daughter with any one of them without losing my mind and I am sure they can do the same.

Yes, this is a different friendship. It is new and I call it divine and beautiful. I know when these parents are telling me something about my daughter or Down syndrome in general , that they have done all the research there can ever be done. I know when one of us is finding a little difficulty with a behaviour or a sensory issue, we all like to help because we know how it feels to go through a hard time.

When I broke down in the middle of a meeting with a teacher, it was another special mother who I called first after getting out of the school.  I am not saying this doesn’t happen in a regular friendship, it does, but our issues are so different that a lot of times it is just exhausting to explain and mostly you just need to talk to somebody who understands when you start by saying that ‘the school called..’

The best part about these friendships is the vibe that I get from these mothers. One hug and you know she understands. With the blink of an eye, a fellow mother would know that you’ve been tired, cranky and disappointed. A cup of tea with her can feel like an hour at the psychologist and if you are lucky you can have such people in your life, all your life.

Dr. Rekha Ramachandran, the President of Down syndrome association of India, always talks about investing in good friendships for the sake of your children. She says one should always have one or two such good friends that if you are sick or have to attend to your ageing parents or have to be present someplace else, these friends should be able to take care of your home and kids and you can do the same for them when needed. You are going to need such friendships when you get old and it is important to invest in such relationships from today.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one”- C.S. Lewis

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  1. Hi Deepa I am special need mother n sometimes l feel that l am helpless n l want to how l can handle this situation. thanks.

    • Hey Preeti, I would suggest you to join support groups, meet fellow parents and spend some time doing what you love doing 🙂

  2. Kapila, I am so sorry your message went in the spam folder and I couldn’t see it. If you are still looking for other special need mothers, you can look for humsafar groups on Facebook. They are doing a great job bringing people together. There are other similar communities too. My email address is deepa.garwa@gmail.com and you can write to me and I can get you added to a few whatsapp groups.

  3. Hi Deepa,
    I totally agree with this article discussing the need for special needs moms to have bonds with other special moms. As I special needs mom myself, I had gone through many nights crying myself to sleep having nobody to talk to about my daughter’s issues. Yes, I have my family and my husband, but I need somebody who has “been there”. I live in Chicago and would love to meet other special needs moms. Any suggestions on how to go about meeting other special moms would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,