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The Strength of a Single Mom: Navigating Life with a Special Needs Child

By October 12, 2023General

Being a single mom is tough, but when you’re raising a child with special needs, it’s a whole different battle. My journey as a mother to a son with seven disabilities has been marked by relentless exhaustion, judgment from others, and a constant quest for resources and support. However, amid the challenges, I discovered a ray of hope and support through “A Fund for Women,” an organization founded by  “A Case for Women.”

Life as a single mom of a child with special needs is a never-ending uphill climb. It demands unwavering attention, boundless energy, and an inexhaustible well of patience. My son’s needs are complex, and as he grows, I must continually adapt to meet those needs. Every night, as I collapse into bed, I’m thankful for the privilege of being his mother, but I’m also acutely aware of the toll it takes on me.

I’m candid about my exhaustion because pretending it doesn’t exist would be even more draining. Sadly, this openness comes at a cost. Strangers and even well-meaning parents who haven’t walked in my shoes often respond with judgmental stares, hurtful comments, or worse – using their phones to exploit my son’s differences on social media. Instead of empathy and understanding, I’m met with ridicule and isolation.

People have even told me that I can’t possibly feel alone because I’m beautiful. It’s a narrow-minded perspective that suggests beauty should erase life’s challenges or that a beautiful woman can easily find financial support. I hold onto my morals and integrity, proud of providing for my son, yet yearning for more resources to support him without judgment, ridicule, or loneliness.

In my daily struggle for a better life, I often feel profoundly alone. Our life is vastly different from those who haven’t experienced the same daily battles, and the judgmental glances and comments persist. I’m juggling countless responsibilities, from working multiple jobs to pursuing an online degree, all while searching for any available resources to help us survive.

Raising a special needs child leaves no room for vacation days or breaks. I constantly research services, therapies, and resources while navigating waitlists that can extend for years. It’s a challenging time to raise a special needs child as a single parent, especially with the current economic crisis, housing challenges, and insufficient wages.

My spirit is frequently broken, but I must summon the strength to keep fighting for my son. When I try to open up to others who haven’t experienced my reality, I sense a disconnection, pity, or judgment. I don’t want sympathy or to be seen as a helpless mom; I want to be recognized as the warrior I am.

Suggestions like taking a day off, seeing holistic doctors, or going on a vacation are often well-intentioned but impractical. Fear of losing my job looms large, especially in an era of widespread layoffs. I have no family to fall back on, and the stakes are high.

In the midst of this crisis, “A Fund for Women” became a lifeline.They provided immediate support in the form of a $500 grant when I had to take unpaid leave to care for my son during a health emergency.

While other organizations either ignored my pleas or sent emotionless rejections, “A Fund for Women” offered a glimmer of hope. Their generosity prevented us from becoming homeless, and their compassion inspired me to keep fighting.

However, “A Fund for Women” relies on the kindness and generosity of donors. If you can, consider donating to this organization. Your contribution can enable them to continue helping single moms and women in need during their darkest moments.

I wish there were more resources and support for single women raising special needs children. Our lives are a constant struggle for financial stability, better services for our children, and the ability to provide them with the care they need. We juggle countless responsibilities and feel like robots, driven by fear and worry.

We long for understanding, financial support, and the chance to enjoy life with our children. We are human, and we miss happiness and the simple joys of life. Let’s work together to lighten the load and eliminate the constant stress and fear so that single moms like me can truly embrace life with our children, free from exhaustion and loneliness.

-Denise Viola

Single mom with a special needs child