In 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful girl. I knew before she was even conceived, that she was going to join our family and be unique. My deceased Italian Nono had visited in me in a dream and told me I was going to have a “special ” girl. I could tell by his tone and bittersweet smile, that he was trying to warn me that it would be a mixed blessing. Upon waking up from this dream, I was left with a feeling that this was pre-destined, and 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 greatest 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 gratitude about having a degree in Occupational Therapy, as I felt confident in 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 were to say that I did not experience bouts of extreme sorrow. At various stages of my daughter’s development, I felt overwhelmed by the huge sense of life long responsibility for this precious being.
I felt a terrifying lack of control to assure her with a positive outcome. Loneliness also crept-in as I often felt unable to relate to moms of typically-developing children. My daughter was often excluded from play dates and parties due to her differences. The heartbreak I felt was suffocating. Although we always celebrated her successes, I quickly came to realize that my happiness could not be directly dependent on how well my daughter was doing. I needed to look outside of myself for help in how to cope with a situation I could not change, and would be present forever.
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. Our life was intense, highly scheduled, unbalanced, and all of us felt disconnected at times. I started feeling like I was falling apart at the seams. After 10 years of living like this, I could tell that my inner strength reserves were depleted.
At the very same time, my daughter had reached a developmental plateau. We stopped the intense therapy, decided to homeschool, and watched her suddenly blossom in ways we never imagined possible. For the first time in her life, it was apparent that she felt “normal”, and I, as her mother, finally had permission to exhale.
The time was now right for me to start looking at addressing my own needs, and 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 tough times are a guarantee for some special needs families (including ours), this was a protective strategy I felt absolutely necessary.
But in order for me to reach this goal for my family, I was very aware of needing to start by getting myself back on track. (The whole “put on your oxygen mask first before you put on others’” thing). I felt had I had lost myself in the shuffle of the past 10 years, and my heart was sore and bruised. Regardless, I would not have changed a thing. I needed to shake the numbness I felt, and immerse myself back into life. And so I went out in the woods to get lost, and found my soul!
Turning to nature was not a conscious decision, but the wellness effects were powerful and transformative. My main medicine became 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 is not easy for me to find resources that work well for me. I require a less traditional and more soulful approach to get my juices flowing, and for me to find motivation to fully engage in my own wellness process. Equine therapy became so effective for me that I became a certified practitioner in Equinisity, adopted 3 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 half-way obviously…
My husband, who was reluctant at first, was quick to pick-up on all the benefits of our new lifestyle. There seemed to be a quickening occurring 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 in my therapy with all my clients!
The difference in my life now is NOT that I don’t feel sadness or stress. It is that I now have personal resources that can help me cope in difficult times. I have structured my life in such a way that allows me to live according to my highest values, by incorporating things which 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!
Let me help you get yours back too!