This Journey Our Life

31 Days of Support—Day 17: Supporting Each Other in the Journey {on the dangers of comparison}

friendship, NICU, Parenting, premature birth, prematurity, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, Visual ImpairmentRachel

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In the journey of raising a child with special needs, it is vital for you to receive the help you need; but it is also important to take a step back and consider in what ways you might be able to offer support for others walking a similar path to your own.

A great start?

Establishing friendships within the special needs community.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with other parents of former preemies. Recollections of our NICU days turn quickly to stats and numbers: from days hospitalized to how tiny your baby was, from what level brain hemorrhage they suffered to how many times they had to be resuscitated.

Every statistic plays an integral part in the story that is your own, and by sharing you are connecting with others who can empathize; however, I cringe when someone hesitates to share their story because they feel it isn’t significant enough—worried the details are not as dramatic.

Just because your story is different doesn’t diminish the struggles you've faced. Each of our storylines is unique, containing individual moments strung together outlining the variety of chapters lived.

I must confess there was a time I didn’t even consider myself a special needs parent, a time where I was convinced Cami’s diagnosis didn’t qualify me for the category. Was I trying to avoid labels? Or was it denial? Perhaps both?

Whatever the case, I had allowed myself to become distracted by the complexity of a diagnosis, the severity of needs.

I was comparing.

But I have learned this important lesson:

In the special needs parenting community, comparison is a dangerous game because this journey isn’t a competition. It’s a camaraderie and we’re all a part of the same team.

No two paths are identical, but we are all trudging along similar terrain.

Let’s reach out in supporting each other along the way.

Your Journey: Have you ever felt that your story wasn’t significant enough to share? How are you offering support to other parents walking a similar journey as your own? Because your story matters to me…feel free to share your heart in the comments!

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Have an extra minute? Click on a box below to check out a three of my blogging friends also participating in the 31 Days series, hosted by the Nester:

31 days 2012b31 days of Pinterest - Pinned to Done button31 Days 2012