Today, Friday 8 March 2019, is International Women’s Day.  The definition of International Women’s Day (IWD), according to Wikipedia, is celebrated on March 8 every year and is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights; it is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored in other countries.  For some it is a day of protest; and for others it is a day that celebrates womanhood.  In 1975 the United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day and in 1977 the UN invited member states to proclaim 8 March as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Today I’m celebrating International Women’s Day and giving a huge shout out and high five for the women who are raising, looking after and caring for a child, or children, with a special need.  I want to acknowledge that these women are amazing.

"Women are like teabags.  We don't know our strength until we're in hot water"  Eleanor Roosevelt

These women have developed a strength of character that helps them through very rough days, nights, weeks and years.  They use their strength to fight for what their child needs over and over again.  The women who know the slightest signs and signals that their child is not coping and switch into a different mode to provide specific support at the drop of a hat.  The women who schedule and plan, do and redo, think on their feet to come up with new ideas, plans and schedules because if there’s no planning and structure their child can’t function and will not cope.

These women celebrate the small wins for their child/children and enjoy that moment of contentment and joy, before “normal” life resumes.

The women who live on their nerves waiting for the phone to ring and the school to say “come and collect your child because …” or for the school to say your child is excluded because they haven’t been able to cope with school on that day.

The women who create special days for their child when other children don’t invite them to events and parties and who decline requests for play dates or invitations to their child’s party.  The women who, although crying inside, present a brave face and make play stay at home play dates with mum playing a big kid, and organise special trips for birthdays so their child feels special.

They cope with losing friends who don’t understand when they can’t make social events over and over again or when they are out with friends, get a telephone call and drop everything to go and support their child who can only feel secure with their mum. 

Women who, by putting their special child first, lose a lot of their friends, their support network and end up feeling isolated and alone.

These women cope with high levels of stress, anxiety and frustration which is often hidden from the world around them as they keep it together to support the child they are caring for and to provide a place of security for their child.  They also keep it to themselves to keep family life running smoothly and often place themselves at the bottom of their list.

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminished fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear"  Rosa Parks, civil rights activitist

The women who acknowledge what must be done, make up their mind to do it whatever fear they may have.  They make up their minds to do what is best for their child whatever the cost, whatever the consequences and impact to them.

The women who acknowledge what must be done, make up their mind to do it whatever fear they may have.  They make up their minds to do what is best for their child whatever the cost, whatever the consequences and impact to them.

If this is you I celebrate the strong woman that you are and I know from personal experience the strength that you have.  I say to you remember to put yourself first and make time to look after yourself.  This is not selfish, this is essential so that you can continue to care for your special child.  I know from experience what that lack of self-care can lead to.  Make time to do something that brings you joy and restores your energy and well-being.  This can be walking in nature, a soak in the bath and reading a book, taking time for a massage or other treatment so you can zone out and relax.  Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup and you need to take time out for you to refill your cup to be able to continue to provide support to others.

I acknowledge, praise and support these women on International Women’s Day.

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