A Caregiver Journey of Expectation

“It’s amazing how caregivers do it all. November is National Family Caregivers Month, and Easter Seals wants to share the many faces of caregiving and the incredible things they do.  All month-long, we’ll highlight caregivers and caregiving resources on our website, including those who care for veterans, spouses, neighbors, parents and more.” So check out our blog AND our national headquarters!

Easter Seals Greater Houston client.  When my husband and I decided to start our family six years ago, we didn’t have any expectations other than healthy “typical” children. We both came from a typical family where disabilities or special needs just did not exist.  Circumstances over the past six years have caused me to reexamine expectations and the nature of “family “while our journey has taken a much different path.2014 caregiver pic 1

Our first daughter Emma was the light of our lives. While she had some speech issues due to ENT issues of ear and throat infections, after surgery she began to increase her speech and her verbal skills now are superb. We had the same expectations during my pregnancy with Annie, our second child.  Those expectations began to change very quickly after her birth.  Feeding issues, medical issues, mood and sensory issues, just to mention a few, kept my husband and I back and forth to hospitals and doctors’ offices while our journey down this road was definitely  much different from we expected.  It seemed every day was a different and new road to negotiate.  One day Annie started vomiting and I noticed she was vomiting up hair – She was pulling out her hair and eating it! No wonder she had complained of stomach aches and fevers!  The pediatrician directed us to shave her head, and that haircut of all her beautiful baby curls to a now bald child shoved was the first of many accommodations we had to make.

Over the next year issues continued and testing revealed Annie had Celiac Disease. Her sensory issues continued resulting in tantrums and melt downs, all at the very worse time.  Annie is receiving help with speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior therapy, school support at St. Peters Early Childhood Development Center, and medical treatments for her Celiac.

Support for me and my husband came to us from many different directions. We started to get the help our family needed to rest and rejuvenate and recover when we discovered Respite!  Bernadette, our Respite Provider was wonderful with Annie.  I discovered I could take some time for myself, and make it to a yoga class once a week!   My husband and I could have a date!  I could spend special time with Emma giving her some individual special time.

People say that parenting is the toughest job there is, and they are absolutely correct! For families who do not have help, it can be an overwhelming experience. Add disability to the mix, and it often can become crushing.  We were so lucky on our journey of different expectations.  We found Respite through Easter Seals Greater Houston, a great preschool through St. Peters and wonderful therapists to support Annie and the whole family! My husband and I feel so blessed to be caregivers of two beautiful children, and we appreciate the help of everyone in our lives that are helping us raise them to be the amazing people we know they will be!

Caregiver Kelly

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