When was I engaged to be married my then fiancé and I dreamed about what our life would be like. We wanted to buy a house and raise a family together. Three months into our marriage we were expecting our first child. At first we were in shock about the pregnancy, but soon were excited about our new addition. We’d stay up late and talk about who the baby would look like and all of our hopes and dreams for our bundle of joy.
Nine months later I delivered a beautiful baby boy. He was happy, healthy, and looked just like his dad. As we watched him grow, we were amazed that together we created this adorable little person.
When my son was just over two years old I noticed that something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but I knew that there was something wrong. My family tried to convince me that I was paranoid and my son was fine, but my gut told me differently. A month or so later, he was diagnosed with a developmental delay that affected both his speech and fine motor skills. The day he was diagnosed was the absolute worst day of my life. I watched helplessly as the therapists asked him to complete certain tasks. I could feel my heart break as I watched my son struggle to complete them or not be able to complete them at all. With each incomplete task my heart ached more and more. The pain of child birth doesn’t compare to the pain I felt that day. My soul literally ached.
At the end of my sons evaluation he was diagnosed with having a 57% developmental delay. This means that my son who was 2 and a half was only functioning at the level of a one-year-old.
Today, my son is 5 years old and is in kindergarten. He is still struggling with communication. Though he has made significant strides compared to where he started from, he is still not where he needs to be. I look back on those nights that my husband and I dreamed about our son’s future. Life for my son is not exactly what we’d hoped it would be and honestly, that hurts. Instead taking to him to little league games, we take him on trips to the doctor for developmental evaluations. No, this is not at all what we dreamed about, but it is our reality.
Why am I sharing this with you? I am sharing my story in hopes of encouraging someone that may be in my shoes. My message to you is simply this: you are not alone and though this experience is challenging, you can make it. And as much as you like to step in and fix things for your child, you can’t. But what you can do is love them. Love your child so hard that they know that they know what they are not alone and your are with them every step of their journey.
Briana McCarthy is a lifestyle, beauty and culture writer, blogger, speaker, and an advocate for special needs children. Check out her blog at www.themanesource.com