CARE & GIVING: Anna’s Story, Part IV

Fri 25 Mar 2022

CARE & GIVING: Anna's Story, Part IV

By Anna Kraft*

In the final installment of her four-part series, Anna shares what she's learn from parenting a child with cerebral palsy.

Perhaps most importantly, if you have someone in your life who has a child with CP, and that person is vulnerable enough to share his or her heart with you, please, please, please just listen and don’t minimize their struggles or worries. Unfortunately, there have been people in my life – when I’ve shared Bert’s pediatrician’s concerns about his motor development or my exhaustion with the myriad phone calls and pleas I had to make to get Bert to be seen in person for therapy during COVID – who have said things like, “My son was a late walker too!,” “He doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong!,” and “Well, all parents have to do a lot for their kids.” While well meaning, comments such as these are dismissive and absolutely shut me down, and chances are I won’t share my heart with these people again. Wonderfully, there have been many more people in my life, though, who have asked great questions, inquired about how they should talk to their own children about kids with disabilities, and who have taken it upon themselves to learn more about CP.

More than anything, Bert’s developmental delay and CP have taught my husband and me the importance of never comparing our child to any other child. All children learn to walk, talk, count, sing their ABCs, and use the potty at their own paces. Some children excel at science while others are wonderful at art. Some children will earn high grades in school, and some will not, regardless of how hard they work. Some children run fast, some are great at puzzles, and some love to talk about their top three favorite dinosaurs. There is not one standardized chart or milestone list that will work for every child. And that is exactly how it should be. My husband I believe that Bert was made in the image of the God who loves him even more than we do, which means that Bert is perfect, just as he is.

*Anna's story is part of CARE & GIVING.This series covers a few different aspects of the cerebral palsy community. It features the experiences of those who care about and for people with cerebral palsy, including parents and caregivers, therapists, paraprofessionals, and other allies. It also highlights donors who have made it their mission to move cerebral palsy forward, because care and giving go hand in hand.

The CARE & GIVING blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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