I wasn’t meant to do this. Being a parent is hard, but being a parent of a child with special needs sometimes feels impossible. This last month has been hard. Sleepless nights, new behaviors such as unexplained sudden tantrums and random crying. Every night my son waking up and stimming in his room at 4am, waking the baby. No one was sleeping. Life just really sucked for a while. I hit a breaking point. I think we all do sometimes in this special needs parenting gig. I think I just hit my first, who knows how many else I will have.
This is what it looks like to have a child with autism that can’t fully verbalize what is wrong with him.
This went on for 10 days. Final diagnosis was a kidney stone followed by a strep diagnosis 4 days later. (Please ignore the horrible paint in the playroom. We just moved and have not painted this room yet).
I sat with my son and I cried with him. This is not what I was meant to do. I was not cut out to be an Autism Mom. I was not meant to have my weeknights taken up with 3 hours of ABA therapy. I was not meant to be up at 4am every night for a month at the end of summer break trying to calm a stimming child. I was not meant to play a guessing game for a week as to why my child is sick. I was not meant to watch my kid play on an iPad on Sunday mornings while his sister plays soccer, I should be watching him play soccer and rooting for him.
While I sat with Cole, crying about how I wasn’t meant to do all this, I realized what I was meant to do.
I’m meant to cheer him on. To celebrate the little things and to really push him when things get bad. When he’s non-complaint and doesn’t want to work, I am meant to support him and love him and get him through his activity schedule, even if it takes an hour when it can take 10 minutes on a normal day.
I am meant to be his voice when he can’t find one himself. When the school gives me sub par services, I’m the voice that’s going to fight for every service that the top doctors recommend. I’m meant to be his voice when people ask him questions that he struggles to answer. I’m meant to be that voice that brings autism awareness and acceptance.
I am meant to have sleepless nights staying up with my son trying to figure out what he needs to self regulate. I am meant to comfort him by any means possible, even if it takes me a while to figure out what that is, I will always find the answer.
Turns out, I am meant to be an Autism Mom, I just didn’t know it or expert to be. But who really knows what to expect in this life anyway? So, to all you special needs mamas out there; It’s OK for you to feel defeated. It’s OK for you to think that you’re not meant to do this. You are not alone and you never will be. Just know at the end of the day you were meant to do this, because we are stronger than we think. Those breaking points are not a sign of weakness, they are the moments that make us step up and realize that we have the strength to get our shit together and do this!
I am meant to help combat autism, and autism should be scared. Because Cole is going to beat and overcome whatever it throws at him, and I am meant to be by his side every step of the way.