Day 7: Restoring Energy, Overcoming Parental Exhaustion

Welcome to day 7 of the 31 Days of Restoration: Spiritual and Emotional Support for Parents of Children with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.

When seasoned mothers warned me to rest as much as I could before the baby arrived, I often laughed it off. I mean, a baby is so tiny and mostly eats and sleeps. How exhausting could parenting be?

I ate my words ten-fold when I found myself raising a child with special needs. In the first four months of life, he cried hysterically for hours on end only to find it was GERD and not colic as the books suggested.

That was only the beginning of the sleep-deprivation I would experience as a parent.

A decade later and we continue to deal with several nightly wakings. Some days, I bounce right into my day with the energy and stamina of ten horses. Some nights, I collapse into bed like I haven’t known sleep for centuries.

It is impossible to describe the years of piled on sleeplessness to someone who has healthy sleep habits. Even when I take care of myself, I can only sleep on a surface level because one ear is always listening for shuffling in my son’s room.

The most debilitating night I experienced was the night my son was first hospitalized. I was awake for 24 hours, with only 20 minutes of sleep leaning against a wall. My spine was jello; my legs threatened to give way. It was the type of fatigue that brought me to tears, yet I was too exhausted to cry.

Eating right, movement, and finding moments of respite throughout the day is crucial for parents who deal with ongoing exhaustion. We need to nourish ourselves to sustain ourselves for a lifetime.

On the very hard days, I also remind myself:

Affirmations for Restoring Energy and Overcoming Parental Exhaustion

  • Even though I am feeling strained, I know I will find refreshing rest soon.
  • When I am feeling depleted, I know I am carried.
  • My spirit is vibrant and well-rested.
  • My body is strong and well-rested.
  • My mind is alert and well-rested.
  • My child’s spirit is vibrant and well-rested.
  • My child’s body is strong and well-rested.
  • My child’s mind is alert and well-rested.
  • I recognize my limits.
  • I am gentle with myself.
  • I protect my body, mind, and spirit.
  • No matter what, I know I will be OK.
  • No matter what, my child will be OK.
  • No matter what, it will all be OK.

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