In 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful girl. I knew before she was conceived that she would join our family and be unique. My deceased Italian Nonno had visited me in a dream and told me I would have a “special ” girl. His tone and bittersweet smile told me it would be a mixed blessing. Upon waking up from this dream, I was left with a feeling that this was pre-destined. My soul purpose was directly tied-in with the arrival of this baby.
On March 28th, 2006, my daughter with special needs came into this world with the most tremendous peace I have ever witnessed. Her arrival was written in the stars, and now the time had come for my soul to take on a new purpose for this lifetime. I felt grateful for my degree in Occupational Therapy, as I felt confident knowing how to address my daughter’s needs. There were no coincidences! I found strength in my strong spiritual beliefs.
I would be lying through my teeth if I said I did not experience bouts of extreme sorrow. At various stages of my daughter’s development, I felt overwhelmed by the huge sense of lifelong responsibility for this precious being.
I also felt a terrifying lack of control to assure her of a positive outcome. Loneliness soon crept in despite being surrounded by people, as I often felt alone in what I was living. I quickly realized that my happiness could not directly depend on how well my daughter was doing in her development. I needed to look outside myself for help coping with a situation I could not change. Her issues were for life.
Throughout the years, we spent all of our time, energy, and resources helping our daughter develop by putting her in every possible therapy or treatment that could potentially help her progress. After 10 years of living like this, I could tell that my inner strength reserves were depleted.
As our daughter started finding her place in the world and things became more stable, I needed to address my own needs. I also wanted desperately to create a balanced lifestyle for my family. I wanted a life filled with lots of joyful moments guided by our deepest passions so we could get through the tough times. Since rough patches are a guarantee for special needs families, this was a necessary protective strategy. First, I realized that I needed to shake the numbness I felt from being on autopilot and bring myself back into the flow of life. And so I went out in the woods to get lost but found my soul!
Turning to nature was not a conscious decision, but the wellness effects were powerful and transformative. My primary medicine was being in the presence of horses, which I got into by chance (although I believe everything happens for a reason). Being a therapist myself, it can be challenging for me to find effective resources. I require a less traditional and more soulful approach to get my juices flowing. That is how I find the motivation to fully engage in my wellness process. Equine interventions became so effective for me that I became a certified practitioner in Equinisity, adopted 4 horses of my own, and moved my family onto a beautiful acreage outside the city in the cutest Hacienda-style house you have ever seen! I never do anything halfway, obviously…
The positive domino effect of living with intention escalated in so many areas of my life that I began to want to help others! It started with supporting other moms of children with special needs and has now evolved into creating my own brand of equine-assisted support©. I can honestly say that I am living my dharma!
My husband, who was initially reluctant, quickly picked up on all the benefits of our new lifestyle. A quickening occurred in our lives, leading us to embody our true values. Together we decided to strengthen our family by embracing a more natural and peaceful way of living. It now feels like magic is present in every aspect of our lives, and I make a point of incorporating it into my work with all my clients!
The difference in my life now is NOT that I don’t feel sadness or stress. I now have personal resources that can help me cope during difficult times. I have structured my life in such a way that allows me to live according to my highest values by incorporating things that provide me with such joy on a soulful level that I can better weather the storms that roll into my life. And trust me, there will always be storms by the very nature of my child’s disability.
Will I ever get depressed in the future? Chances are, I will. But just maybe, I will get through it with greater ease and find my way back more efficiently.
Do I like my life now? No, I love it because I got my horsePOWER back!