Brady Murray
July 01, 2024

Embracing the Entrustment: Anna Owen's Journey of Parenting a Child with a Rare Disability

In this week’s episode of Conquering Your Clownfish, I had the pleasure of welcoming Anna Owen, a content creator, mom to four beautiful children, and an unwavering advocate for her youngest daughter, Josephine. Born in 2020 with a rare musculoskeletal disorder called Antley Pixler syndrome. Josephine's journey has been one of resilience and joy despite the challenges that come with her condition. Anna, who shares her family's experiences on Instagram, has become an inspiration to many, demonstrating the power of faith, love, and embracing the unique path that life presents to us.

Throughout the podcast, Anna touched upon a profound concept that resonated deeply with listeners: "Don't ask why me? Ask why not me?’" Many parents can relate to the idea of being entrusted by God to care for a child with special needs, and it serves as a powerful reminder of the purpose and beauty that can be found in even the most challenging circumstances.


Accepting the Entrustment


When Anna and her husband, Nathan, discovered that their fourth child would be born with a rare disability, they faced a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty. However, their faith played a crucial role in helping them navigate this new reality. Anna shared that she never felt angry at God for Josephine's condition; instead, she found herself humbled and confused as to why she had been chosen to be the mother of such a special and precious life. 

Despite this, Anna openly acknowledged that she went through almost a period of mourning as she had to come to terms with the fact that her life had changed drastically. She described watching her own hopes and dreams "ride off into the sunset on a Viking funeral," recognizing that her role as Josephine's caregiver would require a significant shift in her priorities and plans for the future.

This acceptance of the entrustment is a testament to Anna's strength and perspective. Rather than dwelling on the difficulties that lay ahead, she chose to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow alongside her daughter. By acknowledging that Josephine was given to their family for a reason, Anna and Nathan were able to approach their journey with a sense of purpose and determination.

For many parents of children with disabilities, accepting the entrustment can be a process filled with a range of emotions. However, by focusing on the unique gifts and lessons that their children bring into their lives, families can find the courage and resilience to face each challenge head-on.


Finding Purpose in the Journey


As Anna and her family embarked on their journey with Josephine, they discovered a newfound sense of purpose. Anna shared that prior to Josephine's birth, she had been somewhat selfish in her approach to parenting, eagerly awaiting the day when her children would be old enough for her to pursue her own dreams and career. However, Josephine's arrival and subsequent diagnosis brought about a profound shift in Anna's priorities.

Josephine's condition, which requires constant care and attention, has taught Anna the true value of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. She realized that her purpose, at this stage in her life, was to be Josephine's caretaker and advocate, ensuring that her daughter receives the love, support, and medical attention she needs to thrive.

This sense of purpose is a common thread among parents of children with special needs. By embracing their role as caregivers and advocates, these parents find a deeper meaning in their lives, one that goes beyond personal ambitions and societal expectations. They learn to celebrate the small victories, find joy in the everyday moments, and recognize the incredible strength and resilience of their children.


Defying Expectations and Celebrating Milestones


One of the most inspiring aspects of Anna and Josephine's story is the way in which they continue to defy expectations. From the moment of her birth, Josephine has faced numerous challenges, including breathing difficulties that required a tracheostomy tube and deformed feet that made walking seem nearly impossible. However, with the help of a dedicated medical team, ongoing physical therapy, and an unwavering support system, Josephine has achieved milestones that many thought were unattainable.

Anna's decision to allow Josephine to explore the world, even if it means facing obstacles and potential setbacks, is a testament to her belief in her daughter's abilities. By encouraging Josephine to take on new challenges, such as going on a hike or riding an adaptive tricycle, Anna is helping her daughter develop a sense of independence and confidence that will serve her well throughout her life.

For parents of children with disabilities, celebrating milestones, no matter how small they may seem, is an essential part of the journey. Each achievement serves as a reminder of their child's incredible strength and determination, and it reinforces the idea that anything is possible with the right support and mindset.


Building a Support System and Embracing Community


One of the most significant challenges that Anna and her family faced upon receiving Josephine's diagnosis was the feeling of isolation. With Antley Pixler syndrome being so rare, they were told that finding a support group or connecting with other families in similar situations would be nearly impossible. However, Josephine once again defied the odds, and Anna has since found a community of individuals who understand and relate to their experiences.

Building a strong support system is crucial for families navigating the world of special needs parenting. Whether it's through online forums, local organizations, or personal connections, having a network of people who can offer advice, encouragement, and understanding can make all the difference in the world. Anna's willingness to share her family's journey on social media has not only helped her connect with others but has also served as a source of inspiration and hope for countless families facing similar challenges.

Moreover, Anna's approach to parenting Josephine has been influenced by her background in Montessori education, which emphasizes the importance of following the child's lead and fostering independence. By applying these principles to their daily lives, Anna and her family have created an environment in which Josephine can thrive and develop at her own pace, surrounded by love and support.


Reflecting on Your Role as a Parent


Anna Owen's story is a powerful reminder that every child, regardless of their abilities or challenges, is a precious gift entrusted to us by a higher power. By embracing the idea of "Why not me?" Anna and her family have found purpose, strength, and joy in their journey with Josephine, inspiring others to approach their own unique circumstances with the same level of faith and determination.

As parents, it is essential that we take a moment to reflect on the specific ways in which we have been entrusted to care for our children. Ask yourself:

  • What unique qualities and experiences do I possess that make me the best person to guide and support my child?
  • How can I celebrate my child's individuality and help them develop their strengths and passions?
  • In what ways can I build a strong support system that will help my family navigate the challenges and triumphs of parenthood?

By embracing our roles as caregivers, advocates, and champions for our children, we can find the courage and resilience to face any obstacle that comes our way. So, let us all take a page from Anna and Josephine's book and approach each day with the belief that we are exactly where we are meant to be, entrusted with the sacred task of nurturing and guiding the precious lives that have been placed in our care.

 


 

For more from Anna Owens and her experiences with Antley Bixler syndrome find her on Instagram @annaowen. 

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