Colin Farrell to other parents of kids with special needs: ‘You are not alone’

“I believe every life comes with a message. Many of those messages are ignored. Our children’s aren’t.”

Colin Farrell to other parents of kids with special needs: ‘You are not alone’

Few people actively prepare themselves for what it would be like to parent a child with special needs. If that diagnosis does come, it can be difficult to navigate on your own, says actor Colin Farrell.

“One thing I would say is reach out. Find support,” Farrell tells TODAY in a new interview. Only you will ever know truly what it is to feel what you feel, but you will recognize yourself in the struggles and triumphs of others when you hear their stories. You are not alone.”

The topic is deeply personal to Farrell, whose 14-year-old son, James, has Angelman syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, Angelman syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by developmental disabilities, neurological problems and occasional seizures. It is often misdiagnosed in young children as autism.

After his son’s diagnosis, Farrell found fellowship with other parents of children with Angelman syndrome. Many of them come together in Chicago for an annual gathering and gala, which Farrell says always gives him hope and inspiration throughout the rest of the year.

“The gala simply represents the best of humanity for me," he says. "A world of love and compassion in the face of great struggle and ultimately a song to the fortitude of the human spirit.”

Within that community, Farrell says they also have the opportunity to celebrate their children’s wonderful accomplishments—such as when his son took his own steps just before his fourth birthday, which he previously spoke about with InStyle.

“We share in the smallest victories; the first words at age six or seven, being able to feed oneself and getting the seizures under control,” Farrell said in 2012. “When James took his first steps at age four, I nearly broke in half!”

That kind of fellowship is important to all parents, but especially when your child’s experience isn’t widely represented. As Farrell says in his latest interview, he may not understand “the true mysteries of every life,” but the ability to share them with others helps give him strength.

“Every year I leave humbled and grateful for our community and for the beauty of the spirits of our children,” he says. “I believe every life comes with a message. Many of those messages are ignored. Our children’s aren’t.”

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less

The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

Keep reading Show less