These beautiful smiles and twinkling eyes have a ‘special ‘ hidden story to be told…
Simren, works as a Behavioural Trainer with the Learning and Development team at a leading IT company. Her core expertise lies in conducting learning interventions for employees in middle level and leadership levels.
Apart from this, another role that she plays is of raising her 8 years old son with special needs, Aryan.
While she came to terms with her child and his needs, the world around her still needs to come a long way. From being addressed as a ‘burden’, ‘liability’ or even a result of her past karma, she has heard it all! And to make it worse, this intolerance is seen from good, sophisticated people. The thinking that people with special needs are somehow lesser human beings, troubles her the most.
Here, she shares her motherhood journey with us.
Your definition of ‘Simran’..
For the world, Simren is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, daughter in law but for me, I am ‘myself’. I’d describe myself as a person who has been brought up to believe that she has an identity in this world. Beyond these various roles that she plays in various capacities. A happy go lucky person who lives for herself before she does for the rest of the world. To me, the greatest gift that I can give to my loved ones is my own happiness so that I can bring smiles to their faces too. I wouldn’t say that I am an expert at this but believe in trying my best!
I believe that ‘To exist is common but to live is rarity’ as said by Oscar Wilde and this is what describes me the best.
Your take on the struggles of the special motherhood journey…
I would probably like to use another adjective for this journey and that is ‘adventurous’. It has really been an adventure of various sorts. From deciding to embark on the journey of becoming a mother, while pursuing a full-time career to raising a kid with special needs, I guess I have come a long way. At the onset, I was skeptical about the juggling act that I would have to play. And then, just before I thought I had settled in, there came another adventure of my life! When my child was two, I got to know about him suffering from two rare congenital disorders called Neonatal Hepatitis and microcephaly. Life, from then, has been nothing less than an adventurous ride. From running around to hospitals to getting various tests done, to being told that if this child survives for a year, he will survive, was certainly not a pleasant thing to hear. Every new test report kept confirming that something was not going right for Aryan. To see him go away was dreadful. From changing cities to move all across the world, to ensure that he gets a better life, I think life has been quite a roller coaster.
What kept you strong…
None of us is ever prepared to handle such news for our loved, one. Hence, like most others sailing in a similar boat, it of-course took me a while to sink in the situation. I wouldn’t say I was all gung-ho about this adventure. It was a shock. It was painful and nightmarish to realize that this child of mine is never going to do the things that I might see other kids doing I have also gone through situations where you are standing with moms of other kids in the park who are talking about how their children are fussy about eating food or what how they are blabbering the entire day or how their first day in school was and here I was standing there silent with no story to share!. To stand there in silence and just listen was initially painful because what were achievements for me and Aryan were just common milestones for other kids and I couldn’t expect them to be excited listening to my stories!
However, the belief in the fact that Aryan is special for all of us and I just can’t discount what he does. He can never be and shouldn’t be compared to others because he has his own path to tread. As his mother, it was my job to ensure that all his achievements were celebrated! The acceptance that God has perhaps chosen me for this task made it easier for me to deal with these situations and believe me the joy of watching Aryan meeting his milestones is something that I can never describe in words. We literally waited for six years for him to say ‘mamma’!
In this journey of eight years, I have learned to value the little things that my son did. I learned how not to get fussy about some of the mundane things because I had seen the struggle of life and death. It made me strong as a mother. It doesn’t bother me much today when I know that my son is different because he is the special one who means the world to me. Learning how to live in the moment and not getting bogged down by what will happen to him when I am not around is also something that I have come to terms with. Did it come easy? Of course, not, it took me eight long years to reach this place and I have miles to go before I sleep.
What all has helped you to make the bond strong with the baby, in-spite of being a working mom…
I guess every journey comes with its goof ups and learning and mine was no different. A few lessons for life that I got were:.
First, ‘being a perfectionist’ can sometimes end up being your greatest enemy. You just can’t be perfect at everything and at all times. So learn to let go. As a working mom, there may be some things that you will not be able to do for your child and it is okay! Learning to delegate the routine work has really helped I try delegating things that can be done by others and I focus on the stuff that cannot be outsourced! In a nutshell, learn to let go!
The second one, a personal trait that has come to my rescue, is the habit of planning and scheduling things that has helped me manage the time with my baby. To be honest, I am lucky to have people around me to help. I am lucky to have family who has supported me in this journey else I would have never been able to, be a successful working mom. Building relations also helped me in times of need..and last but not the least, sometimes, your relationship with your immediate boss also helps. When you have proved your credibility for a while and you share a good bond with your boss and the organization values you, it helps you get some flexibility. This can make your life easier. I have been lucky enough in this case.
Lessons for life ….
When this journey started, I went through various stages of grief, just like many others who sailed a similar boat. But today, I have started to notice the things that my son has been teaching me in his own little way. His survival skills have taught me that no matter what, you have to survive and fight through till the end. He has taught me how not to ever give up and I feel God has sent him to teach me these things as he wanted me to learn.
Aryan also taught me the fact that while we may want to plan everything in life, but who has seen tomorrow? Who knows that every story will have a happy ending or rather a clear ending? It is good to live in the moment and enjoy that. If you start thinking what will happen tomorrow, it could just end up killing you.
And finally, I learned to give in my best and then be okay to let go the rest. Like a SAHM, I may not be able to cook for my child or feed him all the time or I may not be there to welcome him when he comes back from school. But I, certainly, will be there when he will want me next to him. I will be there when he calls out for me. I may not be a conventional mom but I am his MOM and we both are proud of each other!
Challenges as a mom…
My son is 8. I am the only parent staying here with him. His father stays in another city for work. My son can go to the washroom but I cannot leave him independent in a public toilet. I still have to take him to a ladies restroom as I cannot send him alone to the men’s rest room. So a lot many people cannot even visualize or think about the situations that I have to face every day.
There may be a situation where he tries to shower his love to another child. But, he will eventually end up actually hurting the child and the parents of the child might not be okay with that. Stopping the child from loving someone is a challenge. Sometimes you see your child not able to do basic thing and there are others, who do not want to play with him. So going down to the park and create situations wherein they involve him in the act. I try to create an aura around my son and say that you are special if you play with him. So there are some basic things that may not exist for many around but they do exist for people like us.
Another major challenge that I faced, when the whole world may want to cuddle with your child, play with your child, but will never want your child to be seen sitting next to theirs in school. They will be like why don’t you send your child to special school; they are abnormal and should not be sitting with the regular kids. Trying to fight that has been a challenge.
Message to the parents of special ones….
For all the parents sailing in the similar boat, initially, you would be going through this feeling of stress, almost that the verge of depression. You don’t know what will happen to your child after you. However, this is a question, which no one has an answer to. So what’s the point stressing? Instead, let it go and enjoy those precious moments with your little one. This doesn’t mean that you do not plan at all. Do plan some kind of financial Security for him. So at the time, when age is taking over you, he will have some source of stability and security in his life. Try to nurture relationships around, so that he has a family to be around with when you are not there.
Message to the society…
In a world where the number of ‘non-special’ people is higher than our ‘special’ ones, my only ask from all of you is to realize that we are all traveling the same destination called happiness. It is just that few of us are taking a different road.
So when you see a child with special needs around, remember that they may have melt downs that they or their parents will have no control over. They perhaps may not understand your ‘No’ as clearly as your own child would. They may sometimes come too close to your kids not because they want to harm them but because they genuinely love these little ones. These kids may even sometimes accidentally hurt your child but believe me that will never be on purpose. They also want to play with your kids in the park and want to sit next to them at school. All we ask for is inclusion for our kids and tolerance for some of their behaviors.
One of the great things that any community can do is not teach tolerance, but live tolerance, not talk respect, but live inclusively. – Michael Pritchard
Did you read about another mom inspiration Poonam Grover, who is also a marathon runner?
Keep reading with us to know more about a mompreneur soon!!!