Being a parent of a special needs baby comes with monumental changes to practically every aspect of your life.
Suddenly, life takes on an entirely new trajectory faster than you can imagine.
Every day a little piece of your heart breaks as you witness your child’s daily struggle from the time they wake to the time they drift off to sleep. At times I find solace when I see my daughter sleeping peacefully at night. No rigidity pulsing through her limbs from the cerebral palsy, no need to struggle when she tries to move, no need for special needs equipment to help her stand or sit and no need for her to rely on us to “act as her body.”
Just a perfect little angel resting and restoring, slowly preparing for the new day ahead, where nine times out of 10, she wakes with a beaming smile! Children are amazingly resilient like that. Sometimes I wonder how I would react if I could no longer sit, walk, talk or control my limbs to do the very basic of human functions.
And there she is, smiling at me every morning—and even this breaks my heart at times.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since Chiara was born, is that I needed my heart to break open.
We all need our hearts broken open at certain points in our lives. This is a fundamental process in Buddhist philosophy. In order for us to truly cultivate compassion and empathy, we need to be prepared to take on the suffering of others. Once this happens, then we can transform this (compassion in action) with an open heart.
After Chiara’s initial diagnosis of being told that she may not walk, talk, or even live a long life, I experienced deep moments of break “down.”
How easy it is in life to break down as opposed to break open. Through breaking open though, and having the courage to embrace and express heartbreak and grief, there is a chance to break open the deep reservoir of peace and strength that lies within, opening to our very own true nature.
In yoga, our true nature is known as: Sat Chit Ananda (Absolute Bliss Consciousness)
Sat—translated as “being” (or absolute non changing truth)
Chit—translated as “consciousness”
Ananda—translated as “bliss” or “joy”
So to all parents of special needs children, when your heart breaks during those constant daily challenges, simply let it be. I’m sure the ancient sages would agree that it may very well be the place…
…where you find your bliss.
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Assistant Editor: Jessica Sandhu/Editor: Catherine Monkman