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Celebrating Different ~ Not Necessarily A Bad Thing

Celebrating Different ~ Not Necessarily A Bad Thing
Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids who don't always get A's,
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers,
And noses that go on for days...
Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids they call crazy or dumb,
The kids who don't fit, with the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum...
Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown, as history's shown,
It's their difference that makes them unique.

...Digby Wolfe

This poem resonated with me as a preemie and special needs parent because ‘different’ is what I breathe every day. It’s how our son lives. As parents, so often we try so hard to normalize our kids, so they won’t be so different, won’t stand out so much….but this poem made me think, that maybe we shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe instead of hiding our difference-ness (is that even a word?) as parents, we should be celebrating it! So, I decided to take a page out of Digby Wolfe’s poem above and create a new poem celebrating ‘different’ parents a.k.a. preemie and special needs parents. Enjoy!

Here's to the moms and dads who are different,

Moms whose pregnancies were cut short by a premature birth,
Who grieve the loss of a 'normal pregnancy', while welcoming their child on this earth,
Dads who want to give their spouses/partners support through their grief,
But who are grieving themselves with little relief,

Here's to the moms and dads who are different,

Who unexpectedly enter a strange and surreal world called the NICU, complete with 'gobbldy-gook' jargon like desat, PDA, NEC, IUGR, NG tube, long lines and reflux,
While internally they are thinking, 'this really sucks,'
Moms and Dads who struggle with intellectually knowing they were parents, but emotionally never really feeling like they are;
Because their bonding was 'hijacked' by that dreadful incubator & every feeling seems bizarre,

Here's to Preemie moms and dads!

Here's to the moms and dads who are different,

Whose children people point at and stare,
Who have to count to 100, 200 even 1,000 to avoid exploding under their glare,
Moms and Dads whose worlds are also surreal and include even stranger words, 'codes' and phrases,
Like Asperger's, ROP, 'on the spectrum', CP, PDD-NOS, Trisomy 18 and a multitude of other cases,
Moms and Dads who try to embrace (or at the very least understand) their 'atypically developing child',
While at the same time trying to stop the fears in their heart from running wild,
Moms and Dads who fight vigorously to give their child the best education,
While simultaneously tearing down the walls bent on keeping their child in a set 'life station',

Here's to the Special Needs Moms and Dads

Here's to the Moms and Dads who are different,

Who when it's all is said and done,
Have a uniqueness, perseverance, deep love and strength which shows that they (and their children) have already won!

…Gigi R. Khonyongwa-Fernandez

Certified Professional Coach

Gigi is a preemie and special needs mom, an ICF Credentialed Professional Life Coach and Founder of Families Blossoming LLC, a unique business that’s passionate about and specializes in providing coaching-based transformative emotional support and other related services to preemie and special needs parents and relevant organizations, hospitals and agencies who serve these families. She received her BSc (honors) in Occupational Therapy (USA), her MSc in Health, Population and Society from The London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), her Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching (Distinction) from The Coaching Academy (UK) and further Coach training from inviteChange’s FASTRACK Program. Gigi regularly presents at conferences and actively works in partnership with a number of preemie and special needs organizations, hospitals and agencies to provide relevant workshops and seminars for parents and professionals. She...