Divorce rate in a typical household in America is 51%
(for a first marriage, closer to 65% in a second)
The Divorce rate among couple with a special needs child is 85-90%
Yesterday I was sitting waiting for Maggie to finish her therapy and this mom sitting next to me looked tired and a little sad, I asked her how her weekend was and she replied with "not so great" Eventually she spilled out that things have become extremely tense between herself and her husband. They have been together 14 years and the stress of their son has taken a toll in every aspect of their relationship. After this mom left another mom came in and was talking to the receptionist about changing insurance information because her divorce was finalized.
It made my heart break. For the parents. For the children.
I can relate to these woman.
I think about how much time a mom spends worrying, helping, consoling, talking to, caring for, thinking about, stressing for - nothing But their child. A spouse would absolutely take the back burner position. And that is not easy on any relationship. If either partner is at all selfish for a minute it becomes tense. And lets face it - humans by nature have moments of selfishness.
I think about how other relationships in my life have taken a strain. BM (before Maggie) I used to go on weekend trips with my aunts or out to dinner with an hours notice. I was fairly good at nurturing the friends I wanted to keep for the long haul. Now I find myself thinking of a close friend and then forgetting to text because I'm cleaning up a mess in the kitchen. I am so exhausted by 9:30 I lose all motivation to call and talk for an hour with a friend.
I hope for these woman that they are able to "just keep swimming" in the words of Dori, from Finding Nemo, I don't expect them to work it out or for it to get better. I'm not pessimistic it's just I have seen so many difficult situations to know that your child is your priority and your spouse may be better support for the child if you go your separate ways. It's still never easy though...