Friday, September 25, 2015

Belonging

 I have always associated myself in the "in between group" when it came to a group to identify myself with.  I never felt part of the "popular" group or the "unpopular" group; just in between.  I was a part of different teams and organizations; I had plenty of friends, but I was never sure where exactly I fit best.  As I grew up and went to college I ended up joining a sorority and again forged great bonds, but I still feel like I wasn't exactly sure which group within the sorority was "mine".   As a mom I have never classified myself as a "crunchy" mom however, I can identify with some of those philosophies, just as I can as a "non crunchy" mom.  When Sonya spent time in the NICU I also felt similarly out of place because she was only in there a week and I know others who have children spend months of their lives.  It felt wrong to even consider "comparing" the situations.

I now find myself in a new type of placement limbo.  I am part of this "special club", the "special needs mom" category.   Even within this group I don't know my specific space.  Sonya is not medically fragile at this time (thankfully) and when I talk to a mom who has a child who is, I feel out of place.  When I read about other children who have CDKL5 mutations and are having more seizures than her or who are more behind in their development, I feel awkward.  As if I should not feel the way I do about where she is developmentally, or that I sound ungrateful when she has fewer seizures.  I never want to make other moms feel uncomfortable or awkward with posting what Sonya is capable of, if they have a child who does not have the same skills.  Yet I feel excited when she has accomplished something "simple", so naturally I want to share it.  It is a confusing, difficult, and weird place to be.

On the flip side, I have Sonya in a typically developing swim and music class and I don't exactly fit in with those parents either.  There are children who are right around Sonya's age, some even a day younger than her, yet we don't have the "our kids are in the same place developmentally" bond.  I have no negative feelings or resentment towards moms who have same aged kiddos who are typically developing.  It is just unless I know these moms on a friend-level, I don't have much to contribute to the "Ben is pulling to stand; Sarah is crawling all over the place" conversations.   

Odds are unless you have had a child in the "special needs" category it is difficult to really understand my position.  Even if you have had the experience it isn't exactly the same, so we may not be able to relate either.  Maybe I am overthinking things?!  Maybe it is too early to have a specific niche within such a wide varying spectrum.  Maybe I just need to give it a little more time?! 

But I can't help but ask myself daily...where exactly do I belong?