Innocence Gone. When I Became a Special Needs Mom

I can’t look at Mac’s baby pictures without feeling very sad.

I don’t know why. Those were the happiest years of my life. I long for those days again. I’ve struggled to put into words why I feel great sadness over old pictures and videos of him, until this week.

I went out to dinner with a fellow Cri du chat mama that lives about a mile down the street from me. She’s a little bit further along on this journey and very wise. She said, “When you posted a memory on Facebook of you cutting Mac’s hair when he was a baby I felt really sad. You had an innocence that you don’t have now.” She paused and then said, “You had no idea what was coming.”

That’s it.

Innocence lost.


Those first few years of Mac’s life were like the long, lazy days of summer. We watched Sesame Street and went for walks in the morning. Ate peanut butter and Pirates Booty for lunch. Crashed hard during afternoon naps. Read through stacks of story books from the library. Met friends at the park for play dates and played Duplo Legos on the floor until Daddy came home. It was the same at-home schedule every single day. It was so routine. So boring. So…normal. So not like my life now.

All that once was, is now tinged with guilt over what it has become, through no fault of my own. But a lack of innocence insinuates there is guilt. That’s what I feel. It’s this subtle weight of guilt over how Mac’s life, and my life, has changed since Nathan was born.

And so it goes for most of us in one way or another. The slow or sudden loss of innocence from something painful or hard in our lives. We live from one moment to another not knowing what’s around the corner. You can’t live in fear of it and you can’t live expecting it, but can only stay present with the weight of all this moment holds–good and bad.

I’m learning there is something to be gained from a loss of my innocence as a “normal mother.” Greater appreciation for milestones I would have taken for granted before. Deeper understanding of God’s unconditional love for me and how I’m to love my son. Higher highs and lower lows. More acceptance that I won’t–I will not–make it without supernatural strength from above. Steadfast and unwavering belief that there is a perfect Kingdom beyond this life.

Perhaps the most beautiful gain, is that though my innocence was lost when my son was born with multiple disabilities. His will never be. Nathan will likely maintain the innocence of a child for all his days, giving others a perspective many of us lose way too soon.

So live freely my little one. Teach us how to love deeply. Be fully you. Show us the way back to innocence. Lead us to the way things were meant to be and will one day be restored to again.


“When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

-Psalm 73: 21-26

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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