When mother revealed that she wanted to end her life following my Duchenne muscular dystrophy diagnosis, I didn’t feel sorry for her.  Instead, it compelled me to realize how much more strength she possessed, compared to my original admiration.  I’ll never forget when she told me the question in mind that saved her life: “If I died, who will take care of my Ricky?”  In fact, she went on to repeat it during her liver transplant due to cancer, twenty years later.  She never stopped thinking of me, even while her life was on the line.

Mom remains to be my main caregiver to this very day.  I honestly wouldn’t know what I’d do without her.  Despite the impossible difficulties surrounding this disease, somehow, she is able to make my life better.  I’m eternally grateful.  I’ve learned so much from her, from determination to selflessness, and integrity to gratitude, and all because of her love.  To the outside world, special needs moms make many sacrifices, but in reality, they give their lives to their children.  Here are ten reasons why being a special needs mom is a superhuman trait, mostly seen through personal experience:

  1. There are times when not even a husband understands what it’s like, when she was the one who gave birth to a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. She often feels alone while hiding her guilt, but still pushes herself to make supper for the family after spending hours caring for her son… with a smile on her face.

  2. Being the main caregiver of that child makes her the rock of the family. She is the one who holds the burden of telling her son about why he is different from his friends.  Not only does she have to control her unbearable emotions, but she also has to strategize how to be truthful without saying too much.  After all, every little one wants to cry to his mommy!

  3. Worry is a constant. What if he falls?  What if he breaks something?  Yet, she has to learn to let him be every single day so that he might know to encourage and motivate himself.  She puts iodine upon his wounds while holding in the tears as much as possible.  She makes him free again and remains fearful but courageous.

  4. Her energy doesn’t come from physical fuel, but unconditional love. It gives her the determination to complete every little task that is required for her son.  Even when exhaustion sets in, she is still able to conjure the strength to attend his every need.

  5. Amid the complicated emotions from extraordinary circumstances, she remains calm and collective to comfort her child. Sadness and depression may surround the boy on occasion.  She takes the initiative without hesitation because it’s what she has to do.

  6. No matter the test results, she is always a carrier. As the disease progresses, the battle becomes hers as well.  Even when her child believes in his heart that he is a burden, his life issues are adopted by her and their journeys merge into one.  She is forced to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders and does it with the utmost dignity and grace.

  7. Being a mother is already two full-time careers and then some, but when you add special needs into the picture, it’s a whole other monster. When you throw in more than one child or a combination of disabilities, impossibility can be a reality.  However, she contains the power to make things possible again, regardless of the lingering difficulties.

  8. She is the one who stays behind, not for the sake of glory, but the betterment of her child’s life. When the father leaves, she remains to be the foundation, no matter how, when, or where.  She endures, overcomes, and conquers, be it her fears, pains, or even squeamishness for the sake of her son.

  9. A special needs mom will forever want her child to be with her. Yet, despite her broken heart, she still owns the capacity to let him go when he is suffering.  This is the greatest form of selflessness on Earth.

  10. Even after her child is no longer with us, she remains in the game, pro-active and raising awareness to save the next generation. She moves forward, with smiles, tears, and laughter, and it makes her beautiful in every way.

Special needs moms are heroines at their finest.  They are able to manifest everything out of nothing because they see further than themselves to make sure their children have a sustainable future.  The best part is, the only requirement for being superhuman is to be human.  Every mother is capable of being a special needs mom when love exists.