Disability- A catalyst for spiritual awakening
The past week had been extremely stressful. I found myself shouting and screaming at the smallest of things and at some point I broke down, crying as if the flood gates had opened up. While my two neurotypical children were taken aback with my outburst, Shreya on the other hand quietly took my hand and asked me to sit and pray. My heart was filled with love for Shreya and we both sat down to pray.
As cliched as it may sound but where is spirituality placed in your lives? Don’t get me wrong this is not about what religion you follow. Today, spirituality encompasses our moral values and a broader concept beyond our religious beliefs. It’s also about your faith in the force that powers this universe.
As parents of children with disability, we have heard multiple times about the sin we or our child may have committed to be born in this lifetime with such challenges. I do believe in the theory of Karma but I don’t see my life with my daughter Shreya as a consequence of my negative actions but as an opportunity to make a difference.
I have been through phases of heart breaks and failed exams where my belief in God was tested. But Shreya’s birth was one of those moments when my faith in God was undeterred and in fact helped me tide over those difficult days.
I very distinctly remember the day when the pediatrician gave the news to me. A single tear had rolled down my cheek which I wiped away with one hand, and I remember saying- “So what if she has Down Syndrome, I am here to look after her and everything will be fine.” This courage came to me from my strong belief in God. I knew that this was not just a challenge but something with a deeper meaning. I just had to find that meaning.
Looking after a child with disability encompasses our whole life. But we are also given a chance to rediscover life once again.
Making spirituality a part of my life became my most important coping mechanism. We all find our ways to cope with the stress & anxiety, we take a break, go out for a party with friends, go for a holiday, find a hobby. But Covid has been a real game changer. It made us realize that all these coping mechanisms were dependent on outside factors and if it was not available like during Covid times, our world could just collapse.
Praying and meditating helps me to keep calm and happy. There is no bigger gift that we can give our children than the gift of happiness. True happiness will only come when you have embraced your life with all the challenges and struggles.
I always make it a point to sit and pray with my children, make them close their eyes and chant. My intention was to connect Shreya to the higher power so that when I am not there with her she can draw her strength from God. Like other neurotypical children Shreya may not have the maturity to train herself to deal with challenging situations but she will definitely have the strength and power of prayers to take her through all kinds of situations in her life.
An ex-journalist, Shivani is an award winning social entrepreneur and Founder, Samvid Stories and Down Syndrome Support Group,India. Mother to a beautiful daughter Shreya, with Down Syndrome, Shivani is a fellow at the India Inclusion Summit’22.
This post is a part of “International Day of Disabled Persons” blog hop hosted by Sakshi Varma – Tripleamommy in collaboration with Bookosmia. #IDPD2022Bloghop. Access all posts of this bloghop at https://tripleamommy.com/2022/12/02/idpd2022-lets-make-this-world-a-more-inclusive-space/