If Our Children Could Speak

  • By: Shauna Amick
  • May 11, 2017

Shauna and Sarah

Being a mother is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.*

As the mother of a child with severe disabilities, I’ve watched my heart step into places I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I’ve handed my heart over to a team of surgeons when she – my daughter, Sarah, that is – was no more than six weeks old. I’ve seen my heart broken by the rejection of other children and other adults. I’ve cried while my tender heart lashed out in anger as a result of being misunderstood, but I’ve also laughed wholeheartedly at the joy my little girl has brought into my life.

So it is for those of us privileged to call ourselves “Mother.” The love of a mother can be fierce. All the more when her child lives with the daily challenges surrounding disability. The constant suffering through chronic pain; the ever-present fears hovering over relentless medical conditions; the harsh reality of being the primary caregiver for someone with significant cognitive limitations.

Children with disabilities are perhaps the most vulnerable amongst us, and we – their mothers – are called to the role of Defenders. For those of us who have children who cannot speak for themselves, we become their Voice.

I have served as my daughter’s voice in hospital rooms and in school rooms. On the playground, in the grocery store, in our neighborhood. After twelve years of loving a child who is for all practical purposes non-verbal, I have become skilled at being her Advocate, her Spokesperson, and Interpreter. It’s what we mothers do.

Last night I sat on Sarah’s bed as she slept soundly, her body in a beautiful rhythm of deep and weighty breaths. I laid my hand on her heart and allowed myself to get swept away by its beating. And within that melody, I heard my daughter’s voice as she spoke from the depth of her heart to mine. It was the message my weary heart longed to hear…

Thank you, Mommy, for the long days and even longer nights you spend caring for me, fighting for me, providing for me, loving me. I’ve seen every tear you’ve cried and every wrinkle that’s come, and I am grateful. I’m grateful for the strong love you have for me, for the ways you choose to protect me, for every prayer you’ve prayed for me, and for all the times you have spoken up for me. Thank you for taking the hits of all those unwelcomed, disapproving looks from strangers upon yourself so that I wouldn’t be hurt by them. Thank you for trading in all the dreams you once had for a new and better dream that we can live out together. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. And so in my spirit, I arise and call you blessed, Mommy. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. You show me Jesus, Mommy, and so I give you the reward you have earned… I give you my heart, and I give you my words. I love you, Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day.**

*Adapted from Elizabeth Stone quote

**see Proverbs 31:28-31

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How beautiful and touching this message was. I have a beautiful daughter who is nonverbal, so i can truly identify with the contents of the message. She is a gift from God, and gives me unconditional love.
  • April 29, 2017
  • 10:35 a.m.
  • Kay Rivas
Thank you Joni for your daily focus on JESUS that keeps you and all the dear ones especially Ken who help you every moment as you walk with JESUS!!
  • April 28, 2017
  • 6:30 a.m.
  • Marian E. Hoezee
This touched my heart so deeply. My daughter, Kandis, is 14 yo, basically nonverbal, open heart surgery at 7 wks old, and brings joy to all she meets. She has an infectious laugh. Beautiful brown eyes and has the best twin brother EVER!!! I don't think I've ever questioned God's infinite wisdom and I just take each day is it comes. Yes, we get looks and hear the whispers. She had a gbutton years ago and a little one shouted to her mom, "Look Mommy, hers got 2 belly buttons! Cool!". The mom lost all color in her face but I took the opportunity to tell this Mom that it's ok. "Us Moms" would rather answer these precious kids instead of shunning them away. Thank you for sharing part of your journey! I felt it was me writing what you wrote. Blessings,. Karri
  • April 28, 2017
  • 4:40 a.m.
  • Karri
Thank you and God bless you and others parenting children with disabilities. You truly are amazing. My sister, Rosanne, and her husband are such amazing parents to their special needs daughter. All your article mentioned is very true in their lives. I believe God gives special children to special parents with a great capacity to love! Happy Mothers Day to all you special and exceptional Mom's!!
  • April 28, 2017
  • 4:21 a.m.
  • Renard
The above essay is beautiful and reminded me of my dad more than of my mom who felt very guilty for having a daughter who drools needs to be fed as well as dressed. I still feel badly that my mom saw my disabilities much easier than the gifts that God gave me.
  • April 27, 2017
  • 8:02 p.m.
  • Mary Ann Merchen
How anyone can read this beautiful message and not shed a tear is beyond my understanding. But then, the wonder of creation is beyond my perception as well.
  • April 27, 2017
  • 2:39 p.m.
  • Susan
Thank you, Shauna. This was beautiful and appreciated!
  • April 27, 2017
  • 1 p.m.
  • Jamia
Absolutely beautiful! God bless!
  • April 27, 2017
  • 12:48 p.m.
  • Angela
Thank you, Shauna. I needed this today more than you can ever know. Both of my children have special needs that are not considered serious, and they are fully verbal; but for other reasons, words like these are impossibly hard for them to say to me. Even in their adulthood, I am still their defender, advocate and occasional interpreter, and some days the responsibility is exhausting. Today you have given me a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. Bless you.
  • April 27, 2017
  • 10:15 a.m.
  • Wendie Benton