Pagan Parenting, Special Needs Style
March 8, 2011 in Guests
photo courtesy of photos8.com
I have now been a parent for almost 3 years – and the entirety of my parenting experience has been both as a Pagan, and as the parent of a child with some complex medical issues. My son was a micro-preemie. He has had a tracheostomy since he was five months old, and has a string of diagnoses best described as “alphabet soup” for all the acronyms involved. He is truly a miracle child, in every sense of the word – his trach is coming out this year, he is largely age-appropriate for his milestones (except speech), and other than the trach, most people would never know what a rocky start he had.
The combination leads to feeling pretty isolated at times though. Many of the special needs parenting communities are overwhelmingly Christian, and while most of the folks there are very nice, it’s occasionally become an issue. Many of the Pagan parenting groups have a hard time knowing what to do with a family with the challenges we face.
As a side note, I see the same challenges when we, as a community, talk about adults with disabilities too. As time goes by, I notice more elders who are, for lack of a better term, elderly, with many of the physical and other health challenges that age can bring. And we don’t always do a great job of figuring out how to meet those needs.
A while back, a group started on facebook – Pagans Parenting Special Needs [http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=120730454644282] – but it’s usually very quiet.
This past weekend, though, I had the honor of attending and presenting at Convocation, here in Michigan. One of the workshops I presented was on doing energy work with younger children, and in to the workshop walked another family with a little boy with a tracheostomy. True, his other challenges were different than my son’s, but as rarely as we see anyone else with a trach, it was quite a surprise. And a clear message: our family is not alone. There are others out there – others who face the same sorts of issues with managing their child’s unique needs while maintaining their Pagan faith – going to rituals & festivals (or not) while watching for things that will cause difficulties, interacting with a medical system that’s frequently not sure what to do with families who aren’t Christian….and probably feeling just as alone as I do from time to time.
Are you out there, reading this right now?