Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Uncharted Territory

Parenting is only uncharted territory in that all of us have our first time being parents, and in that no two kids are just the same in every aspect.

Pagan Parenting is definitely the road less traveled (as opposed to parenting from another faith background). There are fewer supports - few places have an organized equivalent to Sunday School, there are (at least as far as I know) no Pagan parochial schools (though there is an umbrella school in Alabama for homeschoolers, and there used to be GoddessMoon Academy, a virtual school that got mixed reviews), and things like MOPS don't exist for us. While there is SpiralScouts, it's definitely not on the same scale as most other programs - secular or church-based. There are no summer camps like the Jewish faith offers.

Special needs parenting, too is somewhat off the beaten path - though there are more and more of us every day, and we are finding ways to work together and support each other regardless of our children's diagnoses. Even with a fairly rare condition, you can usually find someone else whose child has the same thing, or nearly the same. And even with a fairly rare condition, it's usually pretty easy to find other families with similar symptoms - for example, trachs due to preemie lungs and pulmonary hypertension are  a dime a dozen if you look for them, but even kids trached for completely different reasons still have a lot of the same trach-related issues. Autism is relatively common, which means that all families with non-verbal kids can find resources.

So, again, add them all together, and you find yourself walking a very thin line where you have overlaps with a lot of different communities, but your list of people who have experiences very similar to yours in most ways is tiny.

The number of Pagan parents with children with special needs is growing, but we're still a very tiny number. Working through how to be a Pagan parent is challenging on good days - doing it when your child is complicated sometimes feels impossible.

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