Remember to download instead of saving the image right from the images here for best quality. Or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you be interested in more printables in the future? Subscribe to our blog momandideas.com for more articles related to parenting. Also, do let us know what kind of printables would you be interested in and I will try to make some. We hope to see you join us on Instagram 🙂
Sometimes, you have Chance Acquaintances with some women. You meet them once or maybe twice in your life. You are in a common online group and barely in touch. All you know are their names, profession and important recent milestones of their life. You have those ocassional birthday wishes exchanges on the group created long ago. And that’s all the interaction you have with them.
Then, when life seems to hit the rock bottom of rock bottom, you hesitantly turn to the women you frequently interact with. You are brushed off with a casual, “It happens with all” or “What else is happening in life,” or “Yes, my life is going through a lot too these days,” or blatant ignoring. Possibly, their life is going through the same level of BS but you would hear them out if they wish to share. You even ask them to talk to you so that you can help them and maybe you can together come out stronger and happier. But then you worry that you should not burden them with your problems if they are struggling too. And you drown deeper feeling lonely, helpless and miserable.
So, when the rock bottom of the rock bottom of the rock bottom hits you and you know you need help now, before it is point of no-return, you turn to the trusted Chance Acquaintances. There is not much expectation involved but somewhere in your heart, you know that you’ll feel better. You open up and ask for help. And before you know, you are loaded with actionable solutions, contact numbers of professionals who can help, private messages of genuine, “You can talk to me if you like,” “I am not in the same boat but you can always talk to me,” “How can I help you?”, “Please call this number, she’ll be of great help,” “Lots of hugs and love to you!”
You have no words to thank them. Those women who barely know you, make you feel better already, make you feel heard. You know you will rise again.
Real queens fix each other’s crowns. Yes.
It’s seems so magical that on one sunny day, you decided to join a bloggers’ meet and came across some people who, even though you probably never meet again, a decade later would end up lifting you up from the bottom you never imagined you’ll reach.
Thank you lovely ladies – you know who you are. You make a difference in the world, and in my world.
Friends and acquaintances, if you need help, feel free to ask me or anyone you trust. That’s the one big help you can offer yourself and it will go a long way.
This post is second in the series of our conversation with Aparna Nayak, mom to a teenage daughter with special needs . If you missed the first part, please read it here.
Continuing with our questions in this second part of the interview:
How do you help yourself stay strong?
Well, that’s a difficult one to answer. I am a human too. Sometimes like all others I too have breakdowns. I too have my mood swings and panic attacks but otherwise, I take inspiration from many moms and people whom I know and are having much more difficult time than me, and I say ‘If they can so can I’. But yes, it is ok to break down sometimes and let go. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to take a break once in a while. It is ok to allow someone else to take care of your child for some time. You can’t be a one-man army.
Most of the time I am told, you are very strong, we look up to you or God gives special needs children to strong moms or people who are gifted and strong, which sometimes makes me angry. We are not born strong or we are not that gifted or blessed. It’s our child and each and every mother does go beyond the limit for her offspring. No mother in the universe would want to see her child suffer. I am sure many mothers hide their tears when they see their little one suffering as we have to put up with our ‘brave face’. Stop putting us on a pedestal. We are also humans who have emotions just like others; it’s just that we hide our tears and fears from people. Only our pillows or bathrooms or journals know what we go through day in and day out. Don’t judge us with our smiles and happy face.
After Prerna was born, I gave up most of my hobbies, painting and reading. But a few years back, I started my blogs, which connected me to various authors and I started reviewing. Last year, during lockdown I took up painting after nearly two decades and trust me it is therapeutic. I had never ever gone out without my parents/husband and kid but in first week of September I took my life’s first 2-day solo trip and trust me it rejuvenated me. I was asked “What’s the need?” But I told “I just need to be with me”. Trust me take up a hobby, listen to music, join a dance class or gym, do what you want to just de-stress and unwind. It goes a long way to maintain one’s sanity.
What would you like to tell parents in the same boat?
First of all, ACCEPTANCE (as I mentioned in previous question); trust me it goes a long way. Once you accept your child’s condition it clears your mind and allows you to receive and process information easily. Secondly, it is ok to ask for help, to coordinate and delegate things. Don’t take every blame and responsibility on yourself. Take a vacation once in a while for yourself, take a breather, it is necessary for you to function properly and take care of your child, and DON’T, I mean DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. If you don’t function properly, then how you are going to take care of your child and house. So take a few minutes out only for yourself, to gather your thoughts, and calm yourself and then straighten your back and take on the day ahead. Meet moms of other kids, form a bond, share with them your problems, your success because you never know what might help you and them too.
How do you deal with unsolicited advice by those around you?
Ha, haha…. What can I say? Sometimes, if I am in a good mood, I just nod my head while switching off my brains and ears and giving them an impression that I am grateful for their advice. But on days when I am really in a bad mood, I just walk away from that person. That is very rare though as most of the time I opt for the former reaction even if I am in a bad mood. My advice, just smile. Because they are ignorant and believe me they won’t last even for one hour in our shoes.
Your voice: Tell us whatever you feel like sharing
Well, there is a lot but all I want to say is don’t trust anything and anyone blindly. THERE IS NOTHING CALLED MIRACLE CURE FOR OUR KIDS. Do your research and trust your gut. Once a very senior doctor told me, “Though we are doctors and we are looked upon for advice but I feel you moms are the best to decide what’s good for your child. All we can do is guide you but the final decision has to be yours as you spend most of the day with your child and you know what’s best for them.”
So I would say trust your gut instinct. Don’t fall prey to miraculous recovery and costly treatments which promise your child will be completely fine. Do what you feel is best but don’t ignore yourself. If your health is affected, remember no one might take care of you and your child. And most importantly – don’t blame yourself for what has happened and also if you are unable to achieve most of it. Most doctors (sadly) stress giving importance to the child and their schedule and therapies and all but they don’t tell us we have to take care of ourselves too. I made the mistake of making Prerna the topmost priority while neglecting myself due to which my health has got affected and now I am suffering from back issues and spondylitis and other ailments related to it like migraine and whatnot. Sometimes the pain is so bad that changing or feeding Prerna her meals itself seems to be a herculean task. On some days even getting up from bed seems to be a chore but then our children are hungry and so are we. So my advice, pay attention to your health, to your posture, ask your therapist about the right way to hold, lift your child. Make sure you don’t strain your back and shoulder. Along with your child concentrate on strengthening your body too.
Also, always take the second opinion. If need be, go for a third opinion as well, especially when it is regarding a major surgery or anything regarding your child’s benefit. And go ahead only if you feel it is right and not because the doctor has said it. They are also humans and not God. Even Gods have committed mistakes so think, don’t take hasty decisions and most importantly there is no miracle cure for our kids.
Tell us something about Aparna before marriage and childbirth?
Sigh! Aparna before marriage was an innocent, gullible young girl with a dream of a perfect marriage, perfect husband, perfect kids, and nothing else. After Prerna was born life took a 180-degree turn. I learned to do multitasking, managing the house, Prerna’s schedule, and many other things single-handedly. I used to be dependent on my father for everything before marriage and on my husband after marriage but Prerna’s birth taught me to be self-reliant and be strong. After all what I have gone through in past two decades, I want to do something for parents and children with special needs. I want to create awareness and do something which will make sure they receive help in time and are not misled by anyone.
How has your life changed now?
Life has changed a lot. In a way, for good, I must say. Being a mother to a special child teaches us a lot. It shows the real facet of people and society. It tests our limits and potential. We discover our hidden strengths of which we are ignorant. I started blogging and writing book reviews a few years back. I have started a home business of baking healthy and sugar-free cakes, cookies, and stuff in 2015. I have published my first e-book Yours Truly in 2019. Recently in lockdown, I rekindled my love for art and creativity and picked up paints and brushes after nearly two decades. I have started doing mandala art therapy for myself. Work is going on for my second book which is based on my life experiences as a mother. I regained my self-confidence which was shattered by gas lighting by some family members and blaming me for being responsible for Prerna’s conditions. Yes, slowly trying to live life to the fullest taking a day as it comes. I used to keep asking “Why me?” but now I don’t. Instead, I offer my gratitude that God has made me what I am today due to Prerna. I have learnt many lessons. Only regret (sometimes) is if I had that knowledge and capacity initially, things would have been bit different perhaps. Maybe! But as of now taking it as it comes with a smile.
Subscribe to Mom and Ideas blog. Connect with us on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a story to tell? Write to us on email@example.com
All participants will receive a digital certificate. Winners will get featured on our blog and social media pages.
This contest is not affiliated with WordPress, Instagram, Facebook or any other platform.
HOW TO ENTER:
Entry Fee: INR 150 Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (marking both) for payment details. The entry fee is non-refundable under any circumstance including the inability to submit the entry by the due date.
Only one entry per entrant will be accepted in each of the Craft and Doodle Categories after payment of the entry fee of INR 150 per entry before the due date of submission. So you can send one Craft entry as well as one Doodle entry.
Visit thisGOOGLE FORMto complete the entry form and submit your work.
Entry should be submitted in the form of square format images in a PDF file. Kindly submit at least 3 images of the steps involved in creating the work (to ensure authenticity).
It must be original, unpublished work created for the purpose and must comply with the theme of this contest. It must not be derogatory, offensive, threatening, defamatory, disparaging, libellous or contain any content that is unlawful, inappropriate, indecent, sexual, profane, tortuous, slanderous, discriminatory in any way, or that promotes hatred or harm against any individual/person.
JUDGING: Each entry will be evaluated and scored based on the following Criteria: 1. Creativity 2. Originality 3. Usage of Festival Theme 4. Adherence to the rules and criteria The judges’ decision shall be final and binding.
Being a mom of a toddler, I really enjoyed this book by Andi Webb. This is the second book by the author and is about his fatherhood journey as his babies became toddlers and preschoolers! The previous book was about the difficulties the gay couple faced in bringing the surrogate kids home.
Thirteen Moons More is the perfect book for you if you are a parent or parent-to-be. You know those moments with little kids when you wonder why are they behaving like this and that? Well, Andi shares such stories with his little ones that you can relate so much and feel like you are not alone 🙂 From dealing with kids’ behaviour in different circumstances to tooth fairies, first day of school, nannies, fractures, picnics, habits, losing favourite toys, birthday parties and a Naughty School, this book will make you smile and maybe feel relaxed at times knowing that well it’s okay for kids this age to be pretty mischievous at times, or many times 🙂
There is a surpriseelement as well. The author, who enjoys cooking and baking has shared his kitchen tips and even recipes (you gotta read about his Jammin jams). For me, this was a bonus as while reading a book for leisure, I also got my hands on some amazing recipes and shortcuts.
I truly recommend reading the book Thirteen Moons More by Andi Webb and even the author’s previous book Eighteen Moons.
Meet AparnaNayak, a woman who dons multiple hats while juggling between different roles of a mother, a daughter and a wife. She is a mom to a teenage daughter with special needs whose caring takes up most of her time. To unwind, she manages to listen to music, paint, and read and review books. She has also authored a book titled Yours Truly – a collection of emotions. Her book comprises 32 short stories written in poem-prose format. She is also a home baker (goes by the brand name Chocodisiac) specialising in healthy and sugar-free cakes, cookies, chocolate truffles and snack bars.
Tell us something about your daughter
Prerna was born like any other girl child in India in September 2004; welcomed by some and not by a few people. But she is my Dad’s aankhon ka taara (the apple of his eye). She has my parents and her dad twisted around her little finger. She initially had me too but then I had to be a tough mom for sake of her benefit. At birth, she looked like a normal baby, cute and beautiful; one look at her cute angelic face and you would fall in love with her huge doe-eyes. But as days passed her milestones were delayed. To date, we are unable to identify her condition correctly in spite of the numerous tests she has gone through. To make matters easier for themselves, doctors say that she has cerebral palsy with epilepsy just because there is a small gap between the two hemispheres of her brain and she gets convulsions (fits). A few years ago, her doctor suspected that Prerna has some syndrome or genetic condition. However, the reports of all the tests came negative. So even now, her exact diagnosis is unclear.
When did you learn that she needed medical attention?
Since I was a young and new mom and this happened before the smartphone and internet boom in India, I initially did not realise that Prerna was special. She had issues latching on me, she was a light sleeper and her head holding had not happened even when she was six months old. Maybe it was our fate or bad luck that even the half a dozen doctors whom we consulted couldn’t pinpoint anything about her condition. Some said maybe since she isn’t breastfed she is weak and will take time, some doctors said some kids are slow so we need not worry. But when she was nearly eight and a half months old (around May 2005) she had to be admitted to ICU due to jaundice, double pneumonia, and severe viral infection. We had nearly lost her. But somehow we pulled through it.
One day, she was asleep on the hospital bed with her head tilted at an odd angle (as she was still not holding her head which usually happens within 3 months of birth), a senior paediatrician who was on his rounds came up to her bed, looked at her and questioned me, “Why is her head at an odd angle?” I told him that she had not started holding her head. Hearing that, he blasted me, “How come being educated you people have still not started her treatment?” I looked at him bewildered as I couldn’t understand what he meant. After his junior said something to him, he softened his stance and asked me some questions about her birth history and all and that’s when he told us about physiotherapy which could help Prerna. It was the first time that we heard the word – physiotherapy. Thus started the never-ending cycle of visits to numerous therapists, doctors, tests, and trial and error methods.
What treatments did you try/didn’t want to try and how did they help/didn’t help?
As soon as my daughter was discharged from the hospital, we were directed to a physiotherapist who examined her and told us that we needed to start therapy as soon as possible. But since she was weak from her recent near-death experience the doctor gave her a fortnight to heal and recover. After a couple of months, when she was not showing much improvement, we were directed to a well-known neurologist. This should have been done initially which sadly neither we knew nor the experienced doctors advised us. Then started the trial and error part with the neurologist recommending some or the other tests and medicines each time we visited for a follow-up, but we never got a proper answer.
Moreover, my husband’s job involves travelling and he is out of town most time of the year. So coordinating the doctor visits (which was at the other end of the city) and the tests and all was getting way out of hand and quite delayed. We tried most therapies like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education. While all the sessions did help to some extent, they didn’t make much difference because my daughter is smart and a bit lazy and, not to mention, most pampered. She didn’t want to make an effort. But her therapists were persistent and we were able to achieve many milestones for which I am grateful to them. Prerna did start holding her head a couple of days before her first birthday, she started coming from supine (sleeping position) to sitting on her own, sitting to kneeling, and then standing with little support from us. She had started walking with minimum support from us. But then fate intervened and the therapist left the job. The new one was not getting along with Prerna, and also she became smart and started to resist the therapist. Finally, due to my health issues, we had to start the home therapies, which to some extent was helping her maintain her body tone and posture. However, due to the covid situation, we had to discontinue everything now.
What are the biggest challenges as a child suffering from special needs / cerebral palsy?
First of the biggest challenge for any child and their parent is correct and timely diagnosis of the child’s condition. Nowadays, with advanced technology and science, most conditions can be diagnosed early. Cerebral palsy is a huge spectrum. Depends on the severity of the brain damage, part of brain damage and many other factors determines the severity of challenges. Another main challenge is ACCEPTANCE. I am saying that in bold, caps and underlined because unless and until you accept your child is a special needs child, no amount of medicine, therapy and treatment can help. The more you are in denial the more it hampers the healing. Once you accept it, your mind opens up and you can see the clear picture and it is easy to go on with life.
How do you help Prerna feel good and comfortable?
For most of us, food is comfort. So whenever she does anything good I pamper her with her favorite food. Sometimes praising her for the smallest effort she makes, hugging her, clapping on her success makes her feel good. Initially, I too fell on the bandwagon and used to dress her up like normal girls without realising that she has sensory issues, meaning she doesn’t like normal things like bangles and their noise, combing, shampooing hair, etc. She used to get irritated and fidgety but slowly I realised my mistake and started to avoid things that irritated her. This did cause some issues from some members of the family and even her therapists pointed that out to me, but for me, her comfort was more important than anything else.
Read the next part of the interview of this amazing mom in our next post. The next part of the interview, that will inspire moms of children with special needs, covers the following questions: How do you help yourself stay strong? What would you like to tell parents in the same boat? How do you deal with the unsolicited advice by those around you? Your voice: Tell us whatever you feel like sharing Tell us something about Aparna before marriage and childbirth? How has your life changed now?
Subscribe to our Mom and Ideas blog and connect with us on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a story to tell? Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org