Parents often feel lonely and isolated. Although family and friends try to show support and help to soothe the pain they can never truly understand. Through Otsar we have started a mother's group in Williamsburgh which meets once monthly. Mothers have the opportunity to share with others in similar situations. There is almost a sense of relief hearing that others are able to go on and function as a family.
Parents are faced with the tremendous job of accepting a future of raising a disabled child. No one is ever prepared for this because it "only happens to other people".
Unfortunately, there are parents who choose to hide this part of their life for various reasons. It is never a healthy reason. Parents become more isolated and place an additional burden on their healthy children who are given a very wrong message.
I have found that the mother's group has given mother's the opportunity to share feelings that no one else will understand.Parents share experiences and help others work through difficulties. The group can be a source of strength and support to mothers and allow them to face their community with a sense of wholeness and security.
This article first appeared in issue #1 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us