Hey there, mama.
I’m writing you this letter to let you know just how amazing you are. You’ve traded in your supermom cape for the warrior mom cape.
You’re probably feeling overwhelmed. Fearful and uncertain of what lies ahead. You may be experiencing mixed emotions: perhaps a sense of relief for finally having some answers to your child’s unique qualities, or maybe you’re grieving your child’s diagnosis and what that could mean for their future. You may be experiencing anger towards yourself for not trusting your intuition to resentment towards your doctor for brushing it off as him “being a boy.”
Whatever you’re feeling allow yourself to feel those emotions. Anger, sadness, resentment, confusion, uncertainty. It’s okay to not be okay. If you’re grieving, allow yourself to enter into those emotions. Cry, yell, scream. Let it all out.
Only by releasing all those pent up emotions are you able to finally begin the healing process…
Before seeking answers from experts… and making those initial phone calls to get on the waiting list for anyone with a title ending in “ist” (neurologist, childhood psychologist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, etc)…waiting on the phone line to figure out how many visits insurance will cover and what the co-pay would be… and earning your Ph.D. in googling.
Take a deep breathe mama.
Remember, you already took that first step. You trusted your intuition, began the onboarding process to a special needs parenting. Maybe your family members, friends, or even your child’s doctor didn’t believe you but you just KNEW.
Believe that you were entrusted with your child for a reason.
If you’re feeling as though you’re not cut out for this whole special needs parenting thing… think again, mama. Because you GOT THIS! You may not be feeling particularly brave right now, but trust me. You’ll help your child rock the spectrum!
Believe that you’re a gift to your child because you really are.
You’re not only your child’s mom, but you’re also his therapist, his teacher, friend, advocate, and protector. You’ll always be his biggest cheerleader and supporter.
Believe that your child is a gift to this world because HE or SHE truly is.
It may be difficult for you to see that now, especially if he is deemed what some experts will label “severely autistic.” There is an intelligent, kind-hearted, fun-loving kid underneath that label.
Believe that you were created for joy-filled, abundant motherhood and Autism is a detour. It’s another way of parenting that wasn’t included in the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series…
And trust your intuitions.
I believe God gave mamas intuitions for a reason, and we need to lean into that. We’re our child’s voice, so it’s important that we learn to trust our own voice.
You’re going to be bombarded by so many opinions. But remember… they may be an expert in their field, but you’re an expert on your child. You’ll know when something doesn’t feel right or feels off. When your body tightens just a little bit, and there’s tension there… those are cues that something’s amiss.
When we were thrown into the world of Autism, I dreaded waking up every single morning. I was exhausted from staying up late the night before in search of a cure. Looking for answers.
Adding supplements and piles upon piles of books to my Amazon cart.
Barely able to keep my eyes peeled after just having given birth to another baby shortly after Jacob’s diagnose…driving from one end of town to another to seek specialists, and receiving treatment from anyone with a title ending in “ist.” Our bank accounts depleted to the point of bankruptcy, unable to keep up with the medical costs of having a special needs child.
But we kept going at break-neck speed because we didn’t know there was another way.
This letter is my gift to you, mama.
I hope it serves as a reminder for you to tune out the noise, to pray, to trust, and lean into your intuition. Instead of lending your ears at any mention of a possible cure, remind yourself to hush. Instead, do your due diligence. Evaluate the pros and cons of each therapy program/treatment, and consider if it’s a good fit for your family.
Remember, an Autism diagnosis doesn’t just affect your child, it also affects everyone in the family.
Consider the cost– what insurance will cover and what you can reasonably afford to spend. Be creative, and consider ways you can consult with someone in the field (no matter which therapy treatment you decide to go with) to keep cost low.
And more importantly, no matter what, make sure to take care of yourself. Don’t brush it off as rubbish. If I could go back ten years ago, when our son was first diagnosed, I would remind that Michelle that taking care of herself is the most life-giving thing she can give to her family and her child.
I would place my hands firmly on her shoulders and tell her that staying up late at night wasn’t doing her or anybody else any good.
If she can make sure she’s poured into then she can show up as the best version of herself each and every day no matter what curve ball Autism throws at her. And to assure her that I believe in her, and that’s she’s stronger than she thinks.
And I believe in YOU and know that you’re stronger than you think you are.
I’ve created a starter guide to help encourage you on your journey just for you!
You got this, mama!
Now go be ausome.
All my love,
Related: How to Rock Your Next IEP