A Letter After Mother's Day

Wendy Fry is from Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and almost 3-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. Dravet has not stopped her daughter—according to Wendy, she’s “spunky, funny, and full of personality.”

To my fellow special needs moms,

As you’re well aware, it was just Mother’s Day. What a beautiful and bittersweet day.

You may not feel like much of a mother most days. Maybe a nurse, therapist, pharmacist, advocate, dietitian, scientist, medical expert… but mother? Not usually.

Your Mother’s Day may have been spent reminiscing about those cozy pregnant mornings when your baby was still in your belly. Before. Back when you had visions of Mother’s Day cards and crafts and pancakes in bed. You had so many beautifully naïve hopes and dreams for what your journey of motherhood would look like.

And yet here you are. In a world unknown on a path never knew existed until you were forced onto it. You’ve sacrificed every part of your being: your career, your time, your health, your passions, your love, your dreams, your sanity. You’ve given it all. And of course, you wouldn’t trade it. Of course, you’d choose that sweet innocent child again and again if given the chance.

But it still hurts. It still stings. And Mother’s Day, just like most days and events and happy things for the rest of the world, is a painful reminder of unfulfilled dreams and what may never be.

This year, in this spring season of bloom and growth, I am giving you a task. Whether you have a little baby or have been caring for your child for decades, this message is for you.

Take your self back.

Take your self back because you matter. You are a beautiful human full of potential. You are valuable and have things to contribute to this world beyond your caregiver role. Your experiences are making you stronger and more capable and wonderful every single day. You matter.

Take your self back because you deserve health. Take care of your body. Eat a well-rounded meal. Step outside for a walk. Do a yoga video. Your body will need to be there to sustain both your self and your child for years to come. You deserve health.

Take your self back because your sanity is a priority. The amount of stress and anxiety you juggle is more than any human should ever have to manage. Listen to a song you love. Meditate for two minutes. Meditate for ten minutes. Sit outside. Take a deep breath. Take ten deep breaths. Take a nap. You deserve sanity.

Take your self back because you deserve to live. There is life beyond these walls of your house, the hospital, or wherever you spend your days. There is life and it keeps moving and you deserve to be a part of it, even if only for a few minutes or hours. Find something you love: read a book, volunteer, take a class, meet a friend for coffee. You deserve to live.

Take your self back because it will be okay. Trust your partner, family, friends and anyone else who is always saying things like “if you ever need anything.” You need them. And it is worth the time invested to make this happen so that you can step away. It takes a village. Lean on people. Take their offers. And trust that it will be okay.

Take your self back.

You matter.

You deserve health.

You deserve sanity.

You deserve to live.

And trust that it will be okay.


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