Special Mothers
Most mothers took care of their children from zero to 18 and often able to retire from full time parenting when house becomes “empty-nest” syndrome.  The typical ‘empty nest’ syndrome is a double edged sword but there is a sense of pride that accompanies the ritual of mothers seeing their children off into adulthood. This isn’t so when it comes to disabled children into adulthood. For those mothers, it a very challenging time with mixed emotions and fears. These mothers have accepted the additional stress as part of a family with a disabled child. When a mother’s child is cognitively disabled, be it Downs, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, or any other mental impairment, a mother’s hopes and dreams take a sharp turn in another direction unlike mothers with normal able children. An adult child with disabilities is no different from any other child who is getting ready to leave home.

1 Peter 3:7 (New International Version) “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  I have not been a good husband as I should be. In every marriage, there needs to be verbal, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual togetherness. The word for "live" means to "dwell together or to be at home with." Peter is telling husbands that they are responsible for the "close togetherness" in the relationship. As a husband, I need to be sensitive to the Carole’s needs, especially when she is a caretaker of her disabled adult child.  Knowing  Carole includes those things that others don't and won't know. Her deep fears and cares. Her disappointments as well as her expectations. Her scars and secrets and also her thoughts and dreams. It calls for a sensitive spirit, a willingness to be involved, to listen, to communicate, to care. As a husband, I am exhorted to live with my wife "with understanding."

Mothers with adult disable child
Carole is a mother of a 30-year-old daughter, Sarah, with significant disabilities.  Her challenge at this stage of her daughter’s life and Carole’s is to allow her daughter the independence she desires as an adult that will enable her to continue to grow independently.

Mothers who is a caretaker face the challenge of feeling that friends and family don’t understand what they up against. Being the caregiver of a loved one can be difficult for many reasons. Although stressful at times, it can also be a fulfilling experience.  It is a lonely existence to have a child with a disability which no-one can see or understand your life long caretaking. Having a disabled child often demand most of  the mother’s time and she  usually have less time to have a normal social life. It has long been known that mothers of disabled children experience high levels of stress-related symptoms. Much of this stress seems to focus on care giving responsibilities and demands that arise on a daily basis.

Mothers worried about the future         
Mothers find themselves, not only in the role of permanent caregiver, but also of desperate protector as well. Being a caregiver is a life-term commitment. Being a caregiver takes a toll. Being a caregiver takes a toll on mothers—physically and emotionally. Mothers supported her child, cared for her child, advocated for her child, and love her child into adulthood. She is exhausted and she is scared of the future.  Mothers expect that their children are going to outlive them however mothers who have children with developmental disabilities worry about the future. Carole wakes up around 5:30 in the morning to get Sarah ready for work at ARC. She makes Sarah’s breakfast. She feeds her breakfast. She remind Sarah to brushes her teeth. She brushes her hair.  Carole can’t rest until the child goes to bed.  Even then, she can’t rest, often disabled child like Sarah tends to wake up a few times a night.  Which disrupts her quality sleep.

Mothers worry whether any program (i.e. group home) can provide enough protection or can see to her child’s complicated medical and emotional quality needs as she has been providing for years. That kind of care is very, very expensive to replace mothers.  Most non-related caretakers is unable take care of disabled adult child like their mothers did because they don’t have the bond as mother-child have.

Mothers who are caregivers often feel isolated
Even when isolated, it’s also common for mothers to have very little time alone or spend time with her husband. When dealing with the needs of someone who requires constant care, a caregiver can feel isolated from the rest of the world.

Caregivers are individuals who often put the needs of others first. Mother’s care requires constant attention, which leaves little time for the caregiver to attend to their own needs. When mothers are a caregiver, finding time to nurture themselves often seem impossible.

Mothers find themselves giving round-the-clock care, or spending virtually every free moment attending to the needs of their adult disabled child. Sarah is independent however never know if she’ll be needed at one particular moment or the next, so mothers feel like they need to be constantly available. The feeling of being "always on duty" can take a heavy toll on a caregiver. Sometimes, being human, mothers are prone to burnout who devote themselves to the unpaid care of disabled adult child. The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if mothers feel they have little control over the situation. Fatigue, frustration, and stress from caregiving can lead to the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that defines burnout. Mothers, being human also face other stressors like changes in the family dynamic, household disruption, financial pressure, and the sheer amount of work involved.  This can be called compassion fatigue, a term used to describe the symptoms of secondary post-traumatic stress caused by caregiving. Caregiving can trigger a host of difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief.

Stress in any amount is still stress
Studies have shown that the stress experienced by mothers is greater than that for fathers. Mothers who work outside the home, it is tough on a mother’s health and both her personal and on-the-job relationships.  Often, employers and co-workers do not understand what these mothers are facing.  They don’t put themselves as a caretaker’s shoes and try to understand. Mothers often neglect her own needs because her life revolves around working and caregiving.  Mothers often have trouble relaxing, even when she is relaxing, she feels guilty.  Being human, mothers can be impatient and irritable when she feel overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much." (Mother Teresa)