When I first told that couple about the plants in my kitchen, they looked a bit confused. I explained though, that love is like bamboo. It really wants to survive but it needs some attention if it’s going to make it. When you first come to therapy or you tentatively hold out a proverbial olive branch after weeks, months or even years of fighting, that is like the first time you give those wilted plants the water they so desperately need.
If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you are likely very well aware of the divorce statistics for our cohort. Our marriages are significantly more likely to end than our peers with healthy children. It just seems cruel that the disorders that try to steal our children attack our marriages too. The truth is though we can experience stress levels similar to those of soldiers in combat and that puts strain on even the healthiest relationships. Our marriages aren’t doomed though. We just need to understand what we are facing and protect our relationships while we weather the storm.
Go ahead and clutch your pearls but I’m going to say it, mommy guilt is not always a bad thing. Guilt lets me know when I may have done something wrong. When I feel guilty for something that I am actually responsible for, and I feel it in an appropriate intensity, I can learn from my mistakes and become a better parent. The problem is sometimes mommy guilt turns into mommy shame and that is harmful.