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humans of leap — kreeti bhatia
kreeti bhatia is the founder of the special mom — a community for parents & caregivers of children with special needs.
“i always wanted children, but i had pcos and it was difficult for me to conceive. eventually, after 4 years of trying, i was pregnant. the birth of our first child, arnav, was wonderful! 18 months later, i gave birth to our second son. but this time it was a bittersweet moment. there had been some red flags regarding arnav’s development. shortly after his brother was born we got the diagnosis: arnav had autism.
the next 6 years were the hardest. our life became a complex and unpredictable project that my husband and i had to manage 24/7. our children had very different needs. we ourselves were learning about autism — trying to help arnav and teach him how to live with it. it was so all-consuming. days would go by where i didn’t even get to brush my hair.
i used to be a go-getter, but as the parent of an autistic child, you often feel so helpless and desperate. i can’t tell you what it’s like to see your small child bang his head against the wall over and over, or to go to bed with fear night after night because you don’t know what the next day would hold. i’ve died a thousand deaths on this journey. somewhere along the line, i lost the person i used to be.
one night i heard of a mother in bangalore who committed suicide after feeding poison to her 14-year-old autistic son. it shook me to my core because i absolutely understood why she did it, how she must’ve felt. i couldn’t sleep and at 3am, i posted a candid video on facebook, speaking about my experience raising an autistic child. it was the beginning of special mom and the turning point of my life.
we have a community of 5000+ people, spread across india, pakistan, bhutan and bangladesh. we’re a sanctuary for parents, a place where they care for each other, open up, and have fun. we also host workshops, some on unheard-of topics, like how to teach your autistic child to masturbate. parents everywhere, even rural areas, are coming forward to share their stories — they’ve become motivational speakers in our community. i’m so proud of what we’ve created, and thankful for the extraordinary reason i have to wake up every day.”