A mother of two has opened up about the secrets of being a 'special needs mum', after reflecting on life with her daughter Sophia, who has Down's syndrome.
Pam de Almeida, who is also mum to elder daughter Emma, took to Facebook to share her emotional post after Sophia was hospitalised for two weeks due to a blood infection.
Writing on the page for her blog, Slice of Life, where she regularly shares updates on her family, Pam wrote, 'The last fourteen days I spent in the hospital taking care of Sophia really allowed me to look internally. I realized that as a "special needs mom" I have a few secrets. Secrets that I never confess to, have never talked about, not even to my friends and family.'
'I'll admit, I am pretty hesitant to share this, but after a few days of thought, I decided I would like to share my secrets.'
Her first confession was that although everyone presumes her to be a 'strong mama', she has moments where she breaks down.
'I worry. I cry. I get nervous and anxious. I do what needs to be done because I have to. Because there isn't another option. And this doesn't make me special.'
'This doesn't make me brave. This certainly doesn't not make me a super mom, because in reality, if you were in my shoes, you would be doing this too. Because ultimately isn't that what moms do for our kids?!'
Her second point was about the cruel remarks she'd received about Sophia over the years.
'I have been told I should have aborted Sophia. I have been told that she will be a drain on society. I have been told that I am lucky to at least have one "normal" kid at home. These words do hurt. I know it seems like I let them just roll off my back. I know it seems like I have a thick skin. But I cry.'
Pam also opened up about the loneliness she'd felt, particularly during hard times such as Sophia's hospitalisation.
'Maybe they cannot understand what it is you're going through. Perhaps it's too hard for them to relate. Maybe they feel like I have enough on my plate that they don't want to burden me and choose to leave me alone.'
'What I want to say to them now is, I needed you. When my life got crazy busy with appointments, therapies, Doctors visits, hospital stays, and treatments, I needed you,' she admitted, calling the loss of some of her closest friends 'heartbreaking'.
Her last secret was perhaps the most difficult to open up about.
'I worry about dying. Specifically Sophia. It's horrible I know. To write these words. But when your child has health issues and is pretty much at a "higher" risk to develop every disease and catch every sickness there is, it worries you. You don't let it consume you. But it's there....hidden deep into the back corner of your brain and your heart because you know how awful it feels to even think this. To feel this way. And every time you do think about "it," you quickly tuck it back into that deep corner and feel ashamed for even thinking it, no matter how brief,' Pam explained.
'But the biggest point that I want taken away from this post, is that I wouldn't change any of it. Not for a day, not for a minute, not even for a second. No matter how hard or challenging things become, no matter how many friends walk away, no matter how many cruel comments, no matter what health issues we will face, we will face them together.'
Since Pam uploaded her post on 4th August, she's received hundreds of supportive comments from around the world.
'Love this post! Such beautiful words. You inspire me to be a better mom to my babies,' one such commenter wrote, whilst another added, 'She is beautiful and so was this post! You're right, people can be cruel. Every baby is a blessing, special needs or not. You were chosen to be her mama for a reason, and I think that reason is pretty clear! I wish I knew you in person, I would give you a big hug!'