Friday, 21 June 2019

Falling in love with our kids

Mother and baby

I'm not sure if I'd really thought about what it would be like being a parent. I remember being all gooey eyed when feeding our new nephew a bottle of milk and that was it.  It must have been some maternal instinct - I was pregnant within a month.

Not everyone chooses to have children. Some people are desperate and have difficulty, some like me get them first time round and some others have no plans for kids and get them anyway. But not many will have sat down and thought, I know, what I've always wanted in my life and what would make it complete would be if we could have an autistic child.

I wasn't prepared for autistic kids but then... I wasn't really prepared for kids at all when I think about it. Yes I had a crib and a buggy etc, but when the midwife came to see me at noon the day after we took our first child Anthony home, she found me still in my pyjamas. Within minutes of her asking how I was I'd burst into tears. I wasn't prepared for tar like poos or weigh-in centres. Being a mother felt overwhelming.

Overwhelming in work and love too. Then, autism almost crept into our lives. We loved the boys and thought they were great people long before the words autistic, autism or the acronyms ASD or even ADHD were in frequent use in the home. When their diagnoses came, they helped us understand and support them, support us and in some ways admire them for what they do everyday to get to the end of it.

So much so, that over 10 years later we now have two boys (both happened to be autistic) and a little girl and I still get that same feeling that it’s not just overwhelming in terms of what I need to do to support them, it’s been overwhelming because of the amazing people they have become - autism, ADHD and all. Often people see the challenges or meltdowns - they don't see how easy it is to love our kids.

Anthony struggles with being the centre of attention, sensory and motor skills, and following instructions. He came last in his race in the Swimming Gala but I was bursting with pride as his achievement for taking part, coping and even celebrating the win of school.

David is pre-verbal, has sleeping difficulties and struggles in a world not built for him. However, when his sister cries he comes to find me and takes me to her side so I can comfort her. He also finds joy in the smallest and simplest of moments that can take my breath away.

Jane cares for her family in a way I didn't think could be possible for someone so young and has a desire to look after everyone that may get her into politics.

Raising my children wasn't exactly what I had expected and is one of the most time-consuming and stressful jobs I've ever had - but it is also definitely the best.

5 comments:

  1. I agree - exhausting and sometimes overwhelming but without question the most important role I have ever had. Lovely post.

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  2. Completely agree...we dealt with infertility, then 3 boys thanks to fertility treatment followed by a little miracle in our girl who was conceived with no help..2 have sen issues and its been years since I’ve had any time to myself,years sincerely I had more than 4hrs sleep a night, I’m permanently exhausted,stressed, & lost but at the same time it’s been the best journey ever - becoming a mum.

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  3. Another one in agreement here. I definitely wasn't ready for kids but they have truly made my life so much better. As you say we don't plan to have autistic children but in all honesty I don't think much of what I plan for works out the way I expected so maybe I should just give up on planning and enjoy the moment more often #spectrumsunday

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  4. Lovely post! I don't feel autism has made it more difficult to love our child, rather the opposite most of the time. As you say, there is an element of awe and admiration which I feel about how he copes with things, which I think is making my love for him stronger (although I'm sure I'd love him more than anything even if he hadn't been autistic). That said, we have our moments, like all parents I guess... like just a minute ago when he chewed up a perfectly good crayon, at that moment I honestly felt more annoyed than loving, lol x
    #SpectrumSunday

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  5. As an autistic person I too can identify with hating having attention on me even at Christmas and birthday's it makes me feel physically sick. As I have been diagnosised since a child I was in one sense to understand autism though on the flip side I have my own struggles as an autistic parent. My son is very much like me however he hasen't got a diagnosis because he masks well at school and seems all they care about is the school setting. Anyhow, I love my child, he is a pain in the arse at times and hard work but I love him nonetheless. You just have to put strategies in place and do your best with what you have, that is how parental outlook has evolved. I always knew the changes of having an autistic child was high but that was fine because husband and I agreed that we would take it on X #spectrumsunday

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