28 October 2010

motherheart three (or ASD sux dog balls!)

Gosh another week gone and I had great plans to write about my parenting journey, blah blah blah.  Instead, I sit here this evening exhausted!  Mentally, physically and oh boy!  emotionally.  Today has been a really tough day yet at the same time it has been a contributor to my journey of learning and has also left me feeling very close to a couple of women folk in my home ed group and dare I say it, newer circle of friends.

As some folk know, I am on a journey of discovery as I learn about aspergers and how it is touching our lives as a family.  Beren is due to be assessed next month but I know without a doubt that he has this neurological disorder and I have known this since he was a baby.

Beren and  I haven't had an easy time of it.  His arrival (I am still hesitant to call it a birth, when he was ripped from my belly that was sliced open) was traumatic for both him and me.  The repercussions continue to this day and our relationship is at times difficult, without the added mix of an ASD.

So what did I do today I hear you ask (or did you say "get on with the bloody story!").  Today was day two of a workshop run by Autism Training aimed at parents and carers.  Today was the day we did mini round table workshops specific to our needs.  We chose three from a selection of nine.  Yesterday we just listened as they talked about parents, kids, school and how they work together.  Not overly relevant to a home schooler but a good chance to meet other families and network.  Today was confronting to say the least.  This was the chance to talk about behaviours, difficulties and such and perhaps get some answers and hints.  Today I cried and inside I am still crying and trying to hold it together until my kids go to bed.

Listening to other parents tell of the yelling, hitting, screaming, lack of communication, sadness, pain, heartache and so much more and be nodding in agreement.  To say out loud that your child does these things too, that your child is 'different'  breaks me apart.  This is not what I ordered!  I want my money back.  Parenting is so fucking hard at the best of times without this thrown into the mix.  To be facing what you have suspected for near on eight years and admit to yourself there is a problem is hard.  It has been easy to make excuses, to say he is just defiant, stubborn, naughty, wanting attention, disrespectful and so on but the time has come to pull my head out of the sand and do something.  Why?  I could continue as it is but that would mean reacting to him and not helping him as such. This requires proactive behaviour on my part and for that I need to accept and face what is happening.

As I said my relationship with Beren hasn't been an easy one.  I never felt that mother/baby bond when he was born, in fact I don't think I really started to feel any bond until he was around six.  He was difficult as a baby, toddler, pre-schooler.  I was crippled with severe depression and anxiety.  What a cocktail for disaster!
I was extra good at compensating and making excuses.  When he was a toddler who couldn't be left in a room on his own with his baby sister for fear he would seriously injure her and  we made excuses.  Oh he is just jealous, he doesn't understand, he is only little.  When he was three/four and would deliberately tread on, pinch or push tiny babies at playgroup I made the excuse that he was stressed over his parents separation.  When he screamed, hit and yelled at home it was because he was tired/hungry/thirsty.  I always had a reason because I feared the worse and feared the subsequent label.

I have severe depression and anxiety.  I take medication and seek a psychologist when needed, if I didn't I wouldn't function as a production human being, let alone mother and at the very worse end of the scale I would be dead.  I acknowledge that I have a mental illness and I make a point of telling people because I strongly believe that if one person knows they are not alone and feels better because I have spoken then I have done some good.  Bugger this whole stigma thing!  Lets save some lives!

I question why I feel so differently and have avoided for so long doing something for Beren.  I guess even the best of us hate the thought of something happening to our kids.  Even when our bond was the most fragile I was his carer (if not his mother) and wanted to do no harm, yet now I feel that if I don't become proactive I am doing more  harm.
I don't want to cause further problems for him by responding to his needs inappropriately.
I want to help him to cope out in the big world.
I want to help him to be able to not just communicate with others but to start a conversation with someone.
I want him to be able to answer someone's question.
I want him to be able to ask for something.
I want him to make friends or at the very least be able to play with others.
I want him to realise his potential and to reach it.
I want him to be proud of himself and have self confidence and self love.

These are the things I want to give to him to enable his journey through life and to make it a little easier.

I strongly suspect his father has aspergers too. He also has depression and anxiety. He has no social life and often goes days without talking to anyone. As it is he rarely communicates with me and at a minimum with the kids when they are at his house.  He doesn't seek help as he says no one can help him.

I don't want this for Beren.  I want him to know that he can reach the stars if he chooses and that there will always be people there to help him if he needs it!

Read some more motherheart stories at seven cherubs
or thousand word Thursdays at Toushka


Jackie(My Little Bookcase) said...

I am a little bit speechless and very teary after reading your post today.

As a teacher, I often found teaching a child with aspergers very tiring (emotionaly, mentally and physically). I can't even begin to understand the enormity of it for you.

Can I say that I take my hat off to you. You are making some amazing choices and I think it is absolutely wonderful that you have been at this workshop. I think that acknowledging your situation and being proactive is such a healthy attitude for you and Beren.

If I can refer back to my teaching experience I felt so much anguish for families that 'made excuses' or didn't acknowledge the reality. I think wanting something that is never going to happen is heart-breaking.

Well done again. You are an inspiration. Beren is going to have a wonderful life because you are his mother.

P.S. Please call it 'birth'. I too had a c-section. I felt guilty, ashamed, disappointed and inadequate- not to mention judged. I am often embarrassed to tell people. I think about it every day and am working hard to reassure myself that I had a difficult birth and it's the mothering that counts.

katepickle said...

Sending huge hugs and permission to cry a river of tears, to let it all out... because parenting is hard. Parenting is hard even when things are going well and everyone fits into societies little boxes. And it is incredibly hard when it is not going well and when your little box is round and your peg most definitely square....

But also remember to take a moment to be good to yourself. To be proud of all the wonderful things you do, of all the times you've done it hard to get the very best for your kids.... because they are lucky to have you as their mum

Ashleigh said...

This is such a powerful, heartfelt post. You are so right about being honest. I struggled for so long after being diagnosed with PND - the stigma around it is so awful. It is so beautiful to read about all that you want to give your son.

DoanLegacy said...

You do have a heavier job than other parents, but you sound very strong, determine, smart, and caring. I'm sure your child sees it too.

Cry when you need to cry, and seek help when you have too. I'm just praying for you to have all the strength in this world in order to help Beren. God bless!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

Being a mother is not easy that's for sure. I struggle everyday to know what my children need and how I can accomplish that for them.

Your son's Aspergers sounds tough and challenging. My hat's off to you for honesty and your desire to be the best mom you can for him.

I don't know too much about dealing with Aspergers, only that it seems to be more common so I would imagine support groups might be helpful. I do know this: we are never given trials that we cannot handle. Meaning you don't realize how strong you really are.

Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog. You've made me want to try to be a better mom today because of your desire to be better.

Being Me said...

Kebeni (I actually said it three times in my head, and it's hard to say! xx) My heart has just expanded even more, reading your post. I feel for you deeply. Please know I don't mean this in the trite/patronising way it sounds, but you are so incredibly brave for writing this honest post. Wow. You are a poster girl for resilience and being real about 'it all'. That's rare, you know that don't you? I hope you do. xox

belinda said...

ASD really does suck dogs balls.

In my case it's not a child but honestly some days when I have made one too many mistakes and pushed him into meltdown it doesn't really matter. I for one would love to hear about any tools that are likely to make life run a little smoother.

Kind Regards

Fieona said...

That is the most ... I don't know which word to use: awesome, amazing, deep, honest ... "window" into you. Of course, like others I was brought to tears, but possibly because I thought this is my story and I guess that is why I find you such a wonderful friend. Because your discoveries give me insight into myself. I know I don't have nearly as much to deal with as you, but I feel almost inadequate when I see the amazing things that you do, both as an individual and as a mother. You are truely an inspiration and I know that your children will reach the goals you have set for them, along with many they will set themselves. Don't be too hard on yourself, it is difficult to know why your child does or doesn't do things and we are always bombarded with other peoples theories and I guess we end up unsure of ourselves and end up using excuses. We all do it and I think a big problem is that there are so many things which can influence behaviour it can be difficult to find the root cause. It took over 40 years for Asperger's theory to be translated into English - it has taken professionals that long to understand and accept Aspergers, give yourself time, you're doing a great jog. During the training, I was thankfully reminded that as mothers we need to celebrate; celebrate our children for who they are and what they can do, celebrate our successes as mothers and always remember to celebrate the person who is you. Love you heaps and I am so glad the training workshops have been able to assist you in finding direction in this part of your journey.

Naomi said...

what an uplifting, honest, heart felt, emotional post...your mother heart is tender and strong. I love your desires for your son and also for yourself. How brave of you to attend the workshop and face your fears and emotions. What a challenge you face as a mother. I hope you know you are doing a great work and will make a difference in your sons life and the life of so many others as you strive to give him the best life you can. Thanks so much for sharing a piece of your heart with us. Naomi x