Each month, we publish blogs, articles and graphics intended to be a tool for parents who are navigating their walk through ASD. However, in honor of Mother’s Day we appropriately dedicate this month’s article to all of you MOMS out there who make this wide, wild world spin around! As you’ve already figured out, I shoot pretty dang straight so I’ve got some good straight-talking about the very real struggles which face each of us mothers, in our own way.
Since I’ve already claimed to be a straight shooter, I’ll just come right out and start by sharing a hard truth: “I struggle with guilt.” There, I said it. Perhaps one or two of you out there know what I mean. For me, it’s the kind of guilt that lingers over, under, and around every day simply whispering lies to me. Lies that say my child’s ASD is my fault. Or, they tell me that I could have made this better “if only…”. Sometimes, the guilt is so evil it tells me I don’t deserve to be happy, or to ever have fun because my child has autism. Ladies, I realize your struggle with this may feel and look different than mine but I need to reassure you: THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Life and hard experience has guided me to freedom from the “guilty chains” which I only put on myself. We will fall short, we will struggle mightily to keep our family moving, we will never be perfect for any of our children.
Another very present struggle I’ve had as a mother has been determining an appropriate Plan of Care (POC) for my sparkling star of a kiddo. I mean, aren’t mothers supposed to intuitively know exactly what to do for our children’s health? I remember staying up many nights worrying whether we were doing enough, or about what do we do next. How do I know if I chose the right therapist? Does anyone care about our long-term direction? No secret this is a big reason why I founded PediaPlex, to provide some sort of road map, a comprehensive plan to a highly insecure and unstable landscape.
I want to lastly mention a more sensitive and less obvious struggle which mothers should not ignore. Moms, what about your mental health? I believe I must be well mentally and emotionally if I am to lead my family and do the things mothers do. But when I am raising a family, working, caring for a child with autism, pleading with teachers, coordinating an endless schedule of doctor appointments… something has to give. This is the month we celebrate our mothers but it is also National Mental Health Month, and fitting to mention it here. When the time is right for you, I cannot encourage you enough to seek the services of a licensed therapist. And don’t wait until the crisis-moment, although we often do! I found tools to help me trudge through the mess and to process some pretty daunting circumstances. Will counseling make my problems go away? Nope. Heck no. It helps me solve problems better, and to not listen to lies, and to right-size my struggles. Ultimately, it helps me be a better me. A better mother.
If anything, remember you’re not alone and YOU’RE DOING GREAT! Love your kiddo(s) this Mother’s Day and all of the colorful, lively, amazing ways they brighten your day. Sending all of you brilliant, courageous mothers BIG LOVE this month from your friends at PediaPlex!
Founder of PediaPlex
PediaPlex Child Development Center