As you know, the popular book, “What to Expect When you’re Expecting.” gives much needed generalized advice on the adventure in to parenting. While the information is definitely helpful, the book does not address the realities of raising children within contexts that are not expected. Chronic/life threatening illness? Mental Health issues? Neurological disorders? drug addiction? undefined illnesses? None of these fall in the line of our expectations. I often find myself repeating “That wasn’t in the book!”
Whether your child’s situation is short-term or long term, the result is a feeling of isolation for the whole family. You carry the “elephant in the room” everywhere you go. You become accustomed to stares, judgements, and well intentioned but not necessary advice on parenting. Furthermore, you struggle with how to balance the needs of the affected child with the needs of yourself, your significant other and any siblings. In other words, you fight to keep your family alive.
I know firsthand what this fight entails. I’ve been there. My 15 year old daughter has been treated for Bipolar Disorder since age 9. My older son has struggled with anxiety which fueled the onset of epileptic seizures (genetically present but previously dormant) and unidentified intestinal problems at 16. Because of my own family’s experiences with situations that “weren’t in the book”, I developed a passion for empowering and encouraging families who are navigating such a journey.
Recently, I felt that this mission needed a name. Since my repetitive mantra is: “Help! That wasn’t in the book!” it seems to appropriately fit this ministry. My desire is to provide hope and encouragement as well as resources so that we can persevere in this journey. Your interaction is crucial. Community is a gift from God. Please share comments and information you find helpful. Be as vulnerable as you feel comfortable. Our specific situations may differ but we all share in the reality that one child’s circumstances (chronic or short term; mental or physical disorders)impact the whole family. Jesus promised us abundant life (John 10:10). Together, let’s pursue that promise in it’s various forms.
Workshop: “Help! This is not what I expected! Nuggets of wisdom and encouragement as well as resources for persevering and finding peace when a child’s special needs (chronic or short term; mental or physical disorders)impact the whole family. This workshop will include both presentation and interactive segments.