Someone messaged me recently asking me a very difficult question.
“How can I stop comparing my child to others of the same age or even younger?”
This person has a child who has just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 1, around the same age my son was diagnosed and is trying their best to come to terms with this diagnosis.
It’s hard, really hard and it brought back some tough memories when I thought back to how I felt when my child was that age and he had just been diagnosed.
But even before my son was diagnosed, I have very vivid memories of comparing, constantly comparing.
It almost became an obsession, everywhere I went there were little babies sitting up in a highchair or eating their lunch within ten minutes without any mess.
There were children so much younger than mine who were crawling and walking, stacking bricks and holding a crayon, the simple things you often don’t think about...
But I did, I thought about it a lot.
So when I was asked this question I didn’t even know how to answer at first, I just thought to myself “why am I being asked this question!?
I’m not the right person to ask, I compared all the time so I can’t answer this!?”
Compared. Past tense.
Then it suddenly dawned on me that I don’t compare anymore. I didn’t even realise! Something that was once an obsession is now a very distant memory, so what changed?
What stopped me comparing?
And then I remembered... My son said his first words, and then began to talk, I was told he may never do this.
That feeling that I felt is like nothing I can describe, I thought my heart could burst and it’s like nothing else mattered.
Then there was other “little” things that came, except they weren’t little - to us they were huge!
Every parent celebrates their child’s milestones but when you have a child that perhaps does something that you may have never thought possible, no matter how small it may be, then you’ll realise how much more special that is.
How much more important that is.
How could I possibly compare my son to someone else? My son has a large part of his brain that was damaged when he was without oxygen at birth - he’s a miracle really!
So for him to do ANYTHING, in my eyes is worth celebrating.
He may not be sitting up yet, he may not be able to move around but there is plenty he can do and he makes me smile every single day.
He makes me feel loved every single day and he makes me feel proud every single day.
So when someone else is celebrating their child sitting up for the first time I celebrate with them, I don’t want people feeling guilty about talking about their own child’s milestones around me because my child can’t necessarily do those things.
He is happy (as am I!) and that’s all that really matters.