Parenthood is something that you can never really be fully prepared for. Just when you think you’ve got it down, parenthood bitch slaps you and says “haha you know nothing!”
This is doubly true for special needs parents.
During my first pregnancy, I never really thought about what motherhood would be like. I was just focused on the fact that I had a human being growing inside me. And I was terrified of how it was going to come out. Then, he was born. And I used to stare at him in wonderment literally all day, mostly thinking “Holy shit I made a person and I have to raise him.”
Never, in my mindless stares and fear of screwing him up, did autism cross my mind. I didn’t even know what it was. But when that day came and he was diagnosed, I was more terrified than I had ever been. I was told that he would never do a lot of things such as speak, go to school or use the potty. He’s done all of those things and then some so that particular “specialist” can suck it.
Autism has taught me a great deal. It’s taught me to appreciate the little things. It’s taught me that patience is a virtue. It’s taught me that the words can’t, won’t and never are poisonous. It’s taught me that sometimes, life is unfair. And that having a child who is happy and healthy is what matters most.
I have literally been all over the spectrum with my kids. From high functioning to severe. I’ve held my son while he cried and begged me to take him to the doctor for medicine to make his autism go away. I’ve cried when seeing a baby that can do more than my six year old. I’ve witnessed my kids overcome tremendous obstacles. And through it all, the only thing I’ve never accepted is defeat.
It’s easy to feel defeated and to feel like giving up. And honestly, I think it’s normal. But what’s important is to remember that we are the voices for our children. We are their advocates and their support system. If we give up, so do they.
So on those days when you feel like giving up or feel like you’re failing, just remember that you’re doing the best you can. You are strong and you can do it. Even when you feel like you can’t. Take a walk, have a good cry, whatever you need to start fresh.
You’re child will thank you.