I’m Kristin, a 20-something mom and wife of a residence hall director. My rocky road to motherhood was filled with shock and adjustment. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom to an active tube-fed toddler (C) and a baby girl (Baby Jo), blogging at Little Mama Jama.
“Your special needs child.” Reading those words was like getting slapped in the face. I don’t know what it is about them. They are true, after all.
I guess I never thought of my 2-year-old son that way. He’s my sweet, funny, smart, stubborn boy. Yes, he has always had feeding issues. Yes, he had dropped almost everything out of his diet except crackers and fruit snacks. Yes, he had fallen off the bottom of the BMI chart. Yes, he had a feeding tube in his nose (NG tube). Yes, he was about to have a feeding tube surgically placed in his stomach (G tube). But special needs? Ouch.
Those words were just too much. I slammed the G tube information binder closed. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Hot tears ran down my cheeks. My heart ached for my boy. You wouldn’t know C had “special needs” by looking at him. He’s developmentally and socially on track for his age. His growth was becoming a serious problem, but he was a happy toddler. Why did this happen to him? Why can’t he eat? Why doesn’t he want to eat?
That was nearly two months ago. With his G tube feedings, C has been making major progress on the growth charts. He is now safely in the 25th percentile for both height and weight! We still don’t know what is going on with him. We know that there are sensory issues at play in all of this, but continue to piece that complex puzzle together. Advocating for my son has become my full-time job as I push for further testing to see if his feeding problems have a physiological cause. The words “special needs” still make me cringe a little, but I’m starting to accept them as we move forward day by day, feeding by feeding, appointment by appointment.
That’s what motherhood is, right? Trudging forward, fiercely advocating for our children, shouldering more than we think we can handle, all for our family’s best interests. Special needs? Those two words are just a label, but love and motherly instinct is always stronger.