Gentlemen, you are about to enter the pre-season of the big leagues. It is a period in one's life called, "Grief." Some of you have experienced it before, and for others, this is the first time. It is a part of life, and for some reason you were selected.
Don't ask me why; I don't have a clue! When a tragedy or crisis occurs in our lives, we feel as though we have totally lost control. Men have a hard time feeling out of control; I know I do. We were raised to fix things, make them right.
Dads, grief is normal and healthy. It either makes you bitter or better. Grief is an emotion that allows us to empty out the deep feelings that must not be kept inside. Your choosing to endure this period in your life will make you a stronger and more mature man.
Things to remember:
Your child being born with special needs has nothing to do with your manhood; leave the macho stuff behind
Do not put distance between yourself, what happened, and your family.
Go through the grieving, deal with emotions, learn from them
Men stay and find solutions; boys make excuses and forsake their commitments.
Your focus should not be on what has happened to you, but on what has happened to your child
The fact that your child has been born with special needs is not going to change; you have to change!
Your spouse needs your support on this one.
Your child needs a father, so "step up to the plate."
Ask for help; it is a strength to do so. Join a support group; find another man who has a child with special needs because you need to learn about your child's disability and your new world.
You are now an exceptional father entering a higher level of manhood; take good care of yourself.
This article first appeared in issue #13 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us