Mothers of special needs children

Every mother hopes and prays for a healthy baby whose body and mind work well.

For most mothers, that dream becomes a reality. But for some, there is a moment during a blood test, an ultrasound, the birth or even years into a child’s life when it becomes clear something is wrong. The world shifts and that mother is suddenly the mother of a special needs child.

I do not have a special needs child, so I feel a little odd talking about this subject matter. But I was so touched by Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk in the LDS General Conference on Sunday. He spoke of these special souls with mental and physical handicaps.

And what struck me most was when he spoke of the mothers (and fathers) whose lives become a near constant round of worrying about and caring for their special needs child.

He quoted President James E. Fast, “I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartbreak for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infirmity. This anguish often continues every day, without relief, during the lifetime of the parent or the child. …”

From my friends who have special needs children, this seems to be an accurate portrayal of the constantly of such a situation. A parent of a child with a handicap or illness never stops. They never stop worrying. They never stop hoping. They never stop working to give their child the best life he or she can have.

Most of all, they never stop loving. They don’t see their child’s handicap. They see only their child. They see the joy in moments where I might only see the hardship; they see the blessing where I see a trial.

I don’t know how I would change or what kind of mother I would be if I had a special needs child. My daughters are perfectly healthy and I still get overwhelmed. I hope, though, that I would fall in the category of mother that Elder Rasband describes as “learning patience, faith, and gratitude through the balm of service” and “bearing nobly” life’s burdens.

Do you know mother’s like these? If you have a special needs child, what has your experience been? How do you keep going despite the hardships?


  1. Jessica

    I LOVED that talk! I cried all the way through it. My son is 15 months, and was born with severe hemophilia. I didn’t even know what hemophilia was until he was born. It’s been quite the trial for us. But he has been the biggest blessing!

  2. Jessica

    Also, I encourage anyone who has a child with special needs to look up this poem.. Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley.

  3. Cherie

    I have found that not only am I a mother, but a occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist, and a vision therapist. Not to mention the best advocate out there my son has ever had. I should probably even be able to pass a nurses exam by now with all the medical procedures I have been trained to do. All that aside my son has made me a better person. My son has and will teach our older children much more then they will teach him.

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