Being an Older Mom to a Special Needs Child

Photo by przemyslawiciak

“Oh, my goodness girl! Did you realize you are old enough to be your kid’s grandmother?!”

Yes, I absolutely do realize that. I will be 40 next year. At that point I will have a two-year-old and a six-year-old. People who are 24 and under are of an age to either be my child or grandchild. While being an older parent would make some cringe, I love it.

You see, I did not truly come to know myself until I reached my mid-30s and became a mother. Within the last few years, I have finally gotten my footing and found a purpose/goal. A lot of that has come from becoming a special needs mom and a writer. I do not feel that my 20-something self was truly ready for a child, even though that is what I desperately wanted. I especially do not feel that I would have been able to adapt and handle some of the challenges that come with this life. (Maybe I am being too hard on my younger self, but I do not feel that back then I was mature enough.)

I am grateful to be an older mommy.

I am a lot more tired than my younger mom friends, but I also have some life experience under my belt from having spent my 20s free of kids. I’m definitely an old school mom and am able to better handle things, now, as well. This has been essential with Emmett. I never knew what each day would bring. I have some of the older generation’s parenting skills mixed with modern-day gentle parenting. I, for sure, have more patience now than I did in my younger years as well as coping skills for when I become overstimulated from screaming and meltdowns.

It can be hard to talk about enjoying being an older mom because everyone’s journey is different. When I became pregnant with Emmett, I had experienced two miscarriages and had struggled getting pregnant. I was set on adoption or simply being a bonus mom. I was also a high-risk pregnancy with both times. After my daughter was born, I made the decision to not have any more children. The risk of my life and/or the child’s life was too great. I’ve made some hard decisions in my life, and that was definitely one of the hardest. I do not regret it, though, because I was blessed with two beautiful children after so many years of heartbreak and heartache.

Being an older mom means I am also very aware of my age and health.

I am not blind to the fact that I am getting older, so being proactive is essential. I am also extra in tune with my children’s health and future. Being a planner, I look at things long term, especially where Emmett is concerned. That is a huge reason I fight so hard for his future and try to get him every bit of help I can. There will come a day when I will no longer be around, and my prayer is that, up until that point, I will have exhausted every resource available so he has all the opportunities for success and as normal of a life as possible.

I do look forward to the day when my children will come to me and hopefully ask for advice. Our children keep us young. My children have given me a life I never expected to have. My days are long, but they are better thanks to the little humans I am raising. My nights are sweet when I feel little feet under the covers reach out to mine to make sure I am there. There is not a much better feeling than having your baby fall asleep in your arms. The gentle breathing, and sometimes loud snoring, of my children is my lullaby.

Parenting at any age has its challenges. There are going to be good times and bad. Regardless, though, it is still one of the greatest blessings there is.


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