Your child Have you ever been asked as a parent to a child with additional needs, ‘How do you do it?’ I have. I am not sure how you might answer but I have found myself saying different things to different people as I try explaining how my life may be different, busy, very ‘full on’, but that I have no choice. My child needs me, and well...it is how it is. Sometimes I answer in too much detail, other times not enough. I don’t want people to think I am some wonder woman, an angelic and saint like parent, but neither do I want to underplay the trauma, difficulties and stress that parenting a child with additional needs (or two in my case) brings. I want to acknowledge that things are hard without eliciting sympathy. I want to encourage support but without looking like I can’t cope. I want to bring understanding without overloading them with facts they don’t need. Most people ask or comment ‘How do you do it?’ out of admiration and a realisation that parents like myself don’t have it easy. They are curious about what keeps us going through the hard times. Do we have faith? A super positive outlook? What coping strategies help us? And so on. Those are all things I could talk about, but would they relate? Then I came across this beautiful song by Jennifer Shaw called ‘Your child’ and my answer to ‘How do you cope?’ changed immediately. The song’s words describe a little of what life is like for a few families with children with needs, and the songwriter asks the family ‘How do you keep on going with such grace?’ The answer from every family is simple yet so powerful and relatable. They all answer in the words of the chorus: “She said ‘When those eyes are looking up at mine Every trial, every fear, in that moment disappears And you realise that’s it’s all worthwhile When it’s your child.” And that’s exactly it! I only need to look at my child to know that every appointment, every therapy, every night with no sleep is worth it because my child is worth it. When it’s your own child there is no limit to the ends that you will go to in order to support and help them. Every parent understands that. It is the love for my child that keeps me going. I am not a super-parent, I am a parent doing the best for my child. If it was your child, you would do exactly the same. So while this song helps me answer the age old question of ‘How do you do it?’ it also helps others understand that we all do it for the exact same reasons, regardless of what difficulties or traits our children have, regardless of how hard it may be. When your child looks at you, you KNOW it is all worthwhile, because what parent wouldn’t do the same if it was their child? Here are the full lyrics and a link to the song. I hope it touches your heart as much as it touched mine. And the next time you hear the statement ‘I don’t know how you do It!’ Just smile and say ‘It is all worthwhile when it’s your child’. She’s up at 6am to dress and feed him She helps him from the wheelchair to the van And drives the fifty miles to his appointment And the next day she will do it all again I asked her how she does it everyday? How do you keep on going with such grace? She said ‘When those eyes are looking up at mine Every trial, every fear, in that moment disappears And you realise that’s it’s all worthwhile When it’s your child They haven’t slept since 2007 Since that doctor places that baby in their arms Daddy’s working days and nights and on the weekends And you wonder how it’s weighing on his heart I asked him how he does it everyday? How do you keep on going with such faith? He said ‘When those eyes are looking up at mine Every trial, every fear, in that moment disappears And you realise that it’s all worthwhile When it’s your child When those eyes are looking up at mine Every trial, every fear, in that moment disappears And you realise that it’s all worthwhile Read more blogs by Miriam and our Family Fund bloggers.