“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”—C.S. Lewis
In your isolation, it’s easy to think that you are the only one who has traveled this path. As parents ourselves, we understand. Most of us felt that way, too. But now we can look back and say, “The moment I really started to feel that I wasn’t all alone was when I started making connections with other parents.”
“Really?” you may ask. “Are parent-to-parent connections really that valuable?” In a word, yes. If you learn nothing else from this site, we want you to understand that connecting with other parents is the most powerful thing you can do for your child, and for yourself.
Now, it’s true that other parents aren't going to magically “fix” your kid, or tell you about a secret cure. But through their experiences, and by their examples of survival and resilience, they can give you hope. And that is more valuable than you may think.
“We are all interdependent. No man is an island unto himself. We need each other. When we are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to provide selfless assistance, not only is the other person helped, we are too. We come away changed, feeling good about ourselves and what we have done.”—Dan Wilkins
There are many ways to find and talk with or meet other parents. Texas Parent to Parent is an organization founded and led by parents of children with disabilities, chronic illness and special health care needs across the state of Texas. Their mission is to empower parents through parent-to-parent support, resource referral and education. Their website features a search function to find support groups in your community, resources, and a parent match for emotional and informational support. Parents may join geographic and topic specific listservs to share and request information of others.
Social workers in the hospital, nurses and doctors are also excellent resources for how to find other parents.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”—Henri Nouwen
Many organizations feature a section on their websites for parents to share their story. The March of Dimes is one of these. Most of these sites require you to create an account login before you can post a comment or question. But you can learn a lot and feel connected simply by reading posts from parents you have things in common with.
Facebook is also a very useful tool for connecting with other parents. Some of the support groups on Facebook are open to parents of children with all different disabilities. Others are limited to a specific disability. Do the broadest search you can. That will give you the widest range of options that will help you connect.
Mommies of Miracles is a national organization that connects parents of children with disabilities. It’s also a good place to learn about other resources.
Knowing how to do effective online searches can help you find parent groups. Here are some tips that work in most search engines and research databases to help you get better, more on-target results. Also see Internet Search Tips and Tools on this site.