'I am not alone': Sharifah's story of strength and gratitude in raising special needs children

How a network of caregivers uplifts a mother of three

12 May 2024 10:35am
Sharifah Rahmah's family.
Sharifah Rahmah's family.

SHAH ALAM - Unconditional support and assistance are crucial for parents of children with disabilities (PwD), especially mothers.

Motherhood involves a lot of love, strength, and support. It helps mothers keep going strong even when things get tough.

Every day, these amazing mothers face challenges with a lot of love and never give up, thanks to the help they get from people around them.

This support can be anything from a helping hand to someone listening to their problems. It makes things easier for these mothers and helps them guide their children through life's challenges.

For Sharifah Rahmah, a 36-year-old mother of three, this support has been the lifeline sustaining her through the complexities of raising children with disabilities.

“Alhamdulillah, I have received incredible support from my family members, babysitter, friends, neighbours, teachers and community in my journey as a resilient mother raising children with autism, unique medical histories and Down's Syndrome.

“I often receive compliments on my positive mindset and people rarely witness my moments of vulnerability,” she told Sinar Daily recently.

However, Sharifah revealed that she often thought of her children’s uncertain future.

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“What if their father and I were no longer in this world?

"Who will be their guardian and take care of them? My main concern is that if we die, how will they survive?

“I would rather send them to a special needs facility than delegate responsibility to my second child, despite the fact that he was born with typical cognitive abilities.

“However, we have been preparing them for the worst by teaching them social skills, self-care, and basic emergency information such as our home address, parent's names and their school name,” she said.

Sharifah also emphasised that she receives exceptional support from her husband, even miles apart.

“Whenever there is an internet connection, he makes an effort to connect with us and shows unwavering commitment during his days off.

“My in-laws, including my mother-in-law, husband's brothers and their spouses, who live nearby, consistently provide invaluable assistance whenever we need it.

“For instance, when one of my children requires hospitalisation for treatments lasting 7 to 20 days, our babysitter attends from 9pm to 3pm, followed by my in-laws taking over from 3pm to 9pm.

"Meanwhile, my son's kindergarten teacher graciously assists in transporting my other children to and from school.

“On weekends, my sisters visit, and my brother and his wife deliver food.

"Our understanding neighbours never complain about any disturbances caused by us being loud,” she said.

Sharifah also noted that sometimes, her mother-in-law's friend would even help by providing transportation for her mother-in-law during her shifts.

She stressed that she is immensely grateful to everyone who has shown her such warmth, love and care throughout her journey.

“I continually pray that Allah grants each of them Jannah (paradise) for their kindness and support,” she added.

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