I highly recommend this article I ran across, it's written by a parent of a special needs child who is also a child psychologist. The article talks about some of the biggest difficulties in parenting a child with special needs:
Some of the info I found particularly useful/interesting:
1. We do get sicker more often, it's not just your imagination: "Specifically, the 2012 study found that the parents of children with autism were more likely to get common ailments such as colds, coughs and headaches as a direct result of the increased stresses linked to their caretaking responsibilities."
2. The spouse/partner relationship is often so, so strained: "The relationship suffers most in families with SN children because the parents have been pushed to their limits but simultaneously must avoid expressing negative thoughts or feelings to the child who is causing the frustration. Instead, who’s there to snap at, because you can’t snap at your SN child? You guessed it: your partner. Though we all agree it should never happen, parents of SN children often take out their frustrations on each other."
3. We all have bad days, some people just like to act like they don't: "Undoubtedly, there are definite negative effects on parents of caring for SN children, and these parents shouldn't be shy about sharing negative thoughts and feelings. There is way too much pressure in our culture to pretend that parenting is a total pleasure and that good parents love each and every minute of it. That type of pressure simply adds to the stress the parents of SN kids have, so let's all agree to be less absolutist when talking about the experience of parenting."
Articles like this are important because they help remove some of the guilt we feel and validate the feelings we don't want to show at times. Yes, it is hard. Yes, sometimes you feel like giving up. Yes, you can do this. You just *have* to do your best to take care of yourself.