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My 'Safe Place'

It was the one place I could go and NOT have to explain why my 22 month old wasn't walking yet or why, at age 3.5, he can't always use his big boy words.

Shawn's PEPS Group

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- Shawn S, PEPS mom

Like most expectant moms, Shawn Swift was excited about motherhood but didn't know what to expect as she only had a few friends with kids. She heard about PEPS, thought it sounded fun, and decided to join not knowing it would eventually become her "safe place".

When her son Ben was born in 2005, she was grateful to share this new parenting experience with such a wonderful group of women. Everyone clicked so well that they even stayed together after those first 3 months and continue to meet at least once a month even now, 3.5 years later.  Like most moms do, Shawn watched the other babies and compared milestones.

When baby Ben was 4 months old, it seemed something wasn't quite right, especially since he couldn't support his head. He was soon diagnosed with Low Tone/Hypotonia and a medical whirlwind ensued.

For the next 4 months, he endured at least one test a week including MRI's, CT's, ultrasounds, and genetic testing. Ever since, he has undergone multiple appointments every week in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy."Ben's an amazing kid," says his mom.

For Shawn,the PEPS Group became her "safe place". It was the one place I could go and NOT have to explain why my 22 month old wasn't walking yet or why, at age 3.5, he can't always use his big boy words.

"My PEPS friends and their kids have known me and Ben since the very beginning and they just get it and they accept Ben." She considers herself lucky to find what she calls, "the most caring, intelligent, supportive group of women" and says "we'd do anything for each other."

It's that kind of support that makes her feel so strongly about giving back to PEPS. Her family has joined the PEPS community of supporters and encourages others to join them and give what they can. Shawn says, "My husband Jeff and I decided, after all PEPS has done for us, we wanted to give back. All parents really need a support system and for us, especially as the parents of a special needs child, PEPS was a lifesaver."

About the Author

Angie Ballas

Angie Ballas is a mom to two girls and a local Seattle writer.

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