If you’ve ever taken a flight, you know that the flight attendants always give a speech before take-off, telling us what to do in the event of an emergency. They tell us that if the oxygen masks come down, parents should put their own mask on first, then take care of the children. They explain that to be helpful to a child, we first have to take care of ourselves or we won’t be any use at all.
You may not think you have time to see a psychiatrist or counselor but that’s exactly what you need to do. You are overwhelmed because the situation is overwhelming. Your son isn’t the only one with a “heart” problem. Your emotional heart is being greatly stressed. Having two young children is stressful for any mom. When one of those children is ill, it’s over the top. Just like parents who need to give themselves oxygen in a flight emergency before they can take care of the kids, you need to give yourself some time each week to get what you need so you can carry on.
One of the many things that concerns me about your letter is that you don’t mention the children’s father or other supportive people in your life. Ideally, more than one adult is involved in a family like yours. You need time to rest. You need someone else to celebrate successes and to be there when there are setbacks. It always helps to have another adult to talk to when big decisions are to be made or to hold hands with during visits to doctors and trips to hospitals. Another adult can also give your older child the support she needs when you are occupied with the baby.
I hope you have some family and friends who can help you. I hope you are not shy about asking for their help. It is only what you would offer if you had a friend in your kind of situation.
Please also ask your doctor if he or she knows of a parent support group for parents of kids with special needs. There is great comfort in talking to other parents who are facing similar challenges. Often other parents know of resources and tips that can help you help your children.
Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You deserve more support. Your children deserve a mom who can connect with them and take care of them.
I wish you well.