A severely traumatic or unusual birth experience, weeks spent in the NICU, and harsh lectures from a neurologist about your child’s chances of survival or living a good life are common starting points of the parenting journey that unites many special needs families. Host Annette Hines notes how her Parenting Impossible podcast guest, Kelly Speck, author of the new book, Hope in the Heartache: The Journey of Grace and Growth with a Special Needs Child, shares many commonalities with Hines’ narrative raising her daughter, Elizabeth. Motivation to tackle adversity and live your best life is at the heart of Speck’s story of the birth of her son, Bennett who is a quadriplegic, now 15-years-old, and the story of her family with her husband, Travis, and Bennett’s brother Jackson and sister Reagan.

Summoning Strength and Tacking Adversity

During their conversation, Hines and Speck remember how oftentimes, many of the doctors or nurses would deliver news about their children’s diagnoses in such direct and harsh terms. While they often heard how bad the prognosis was, what they needed as mothers were words of hope. There’s no one telling you what an amazing life you have, and can have, yet parents and families desperately need to hear it.  When Bennett was six-months-old and life was particularly challenging, Speck said she remembers thinking, Dig Deep. She knew from the very core of her being that she would need to summon all of her strength and hope to survive the fact that every parenting dream was being shattered. Speck has learned while parenting three children, that honoring Bennett’s wishes means letting him stay home with babysitters where he is happiest and taking out the younger two children for excursions even though she and Travis want to have Bennett with them as a whole family. Nevertheless, she acknowledges that they are learning as they go and validating emotions–mad, sad, guilty, like you don’t matter, or ashamed that your life doesn’t look like everyone else’s–is essential.

Sharing Our Stories Provides the Needed Hope

Despite or even because of the absence of comforting words from the outside world, Hines reminds listeners at the start of the episode that the disability community can uplift one another with shared stories. “That’s why we share our stories, and why we publish our books,” explains Hines in her introduction.  And that’s why Special Needs Companies hosts Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast provides a forum to share stories and create community for the disability community.You can learn more about Speck’s book, story, and family on her website: https://hopeintheheartache.com.

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