Covid-19, Recovery and the Quest for Self-Love as a Special Needs Mother

Guest Writer: Melanie K Milicevic

Being sick is always a gift and a curse.  The gift is that you realize how much it means to be healthy.   You realize what gifts breathing and sleeping are.  You appreciate when you can do these incredible things alone without thinking about them.  The curse of illness is, of course, that these basic needs slip away and you’re not sure when they will return.  They haunt you and you chase after them like a hungry wolf.  I have been chasing now for 20 days. 

Many years ago, I started using ANSHI products.  They came into our life when our friend and neighbor Janelle started dropping off jars of homemade goodness.  She knew I had a special needs child and was a lover of essential oils.  “These complement your oils,” she would say.  “Use them with your favorites and use them however feels good.  Use them on you!”  It was almost as if she knew I struggled to take care of myself.  She knew that I needed to be scrubbed, massaged, and nurtured.  I began trying all her products.  How could I not when they were perfectly packaged, and they appeared mysteriously on my doorstep in the most trying of times.  I would try them on the kids and on myself and they did become my go to for self-care. I liked rubbing them on my belly, my worst area due to IBS and GERD.

My daughter has been using ANSHI's Total Healing Turmeric rub for years now.  She uses it on her belly for upset stomachaches and I use it as well for my issues.  She has her own jar in her bedroom and just lathers it on when she needs it.  She has learned self-care.  The moments I do rub some homemade goodness on me, I tell myself that I am worthy of this moment.  I deserve to feel cared for.  I use it nightly on myself as well.

Self-care is something almost every mom struggles with.  There is that one mom who once asked me to walk her kid in to the first day of preschool so she wouldn’t miss her Pilates class, but those moms are not everywhere.  Maybe we should all be THAT mom! But for most of us the maternal instinct we have as mothers is to take care of others.  When you layer that with special needs parenting, you find yourself in a huge conflict. Can you truly care for yourself without helping your child first? Can you use the oxygen mask before giving it to your child? It’s something I am terrible at because like so many special needs moms and dads, my child’s needs had to come first. Big "Aha!" moment, I am now in a situation where I have to change this way of thinking and to heal.

When Covid hit us this month, I immediately went to my ANSHI products and my oils.  I used up lavender and turmeric like nobody’s business.  It was a way for me to nurture myself and to remind myself I was going to get through this.  I suffered a lot but not necessarily from Covid.  I was traumatized from an ER visit I never want to remember.  I had a terrible doctor give me a drug that has truly taken away my ability to be still and to sleep.  Now I remain frail and vulnerable, trying to determine which steps come next in my healing.

Healing is a gift and one I embrace fully.  Not everyone does heal, but I do believe in the power to heal, and that we are meant to heal.  As a longtime gut suffering mom, I realize that this experience has forced me to realize what I need to do to move ahead.  It’s opposite of how I’ve been living for 12 years.  I have to stop everything and practice self-care daily.  I have to work out.  I have to eat with care and intention.  I have to cook nonstop and make healing and nourishing foods so that my body can heal.  This takes tremendous energy.  It’s exhausting.  But I have no choice now that I am where I am: broken and weak.

My new favorite ANSHI product is Detox Aloe.  I needed something fragrance free because I was struggling with fragrances, so I picked up the ANSHI at my local market.  I’ve been using it as a rub on my belly for a while.  It is soothing, has helped me with bloating and just makes me feel like I am doing something loving and good for myself.

As I embrace these next steps towards self-love and healing, I am working very hard to surround myself with mantras that make me feel good.  No negativity, only positive statements like, “I am healing.  I will get well.  I am strong.” I have to rebuild my body and mind from the bottom up.

Covid doesn’t affect everyone the way it affected me.  I’m not even sure if it was Covid, or really just a special needs mom meltdown which was exacerbated by my preexisting conditions (including anxiety and gut disorders). I know now that I must love myself more than I ever have.  “Love yourself like you love your children,” I told someone recently.  I must do the same. Reminding myself that it does take a village not just to raise a child but also to support parents who have been hit hard by the last two years of Covid-anxiety and trauma.  We all break at some point.  Finding things that make us feel good are gifts we all need to take the next step forward.  We can and will heal if we love our own selves the way we deserve. Thankful for a little bit of help from the ANSHI Family.

Meet Melanie:

Melanie K Milicevic is a graduate of UCLA and a former 5th grade teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  She worked mostly with second language learners and collaborated with special needs families to meet the unique needs of her students.  She now advocates for her own special needs children and continues to work with schools to help educate them about ways to include children of all abilities in the classroom. Melanie is a passionate writer and hopes to be a voice for special needs families in her community. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.

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