I take another sip of my water because I really don't like coffee, even though sometimes I wish I did because I probably could use it. But, as I sit here staring at my MacBook, know that I see you. I get the struggles you're going through, and I felt compelled to write today from my heart.
This is the real me and my story! Yes, you are probably looking at it thinking OMG, I am not reading that. It's so long! But if you are a mom and times have been tough times it's nice to read someone else story to know that you are not alone!
I see you!
It feels like it was the other day we just received the diagnosis for my son, where I had been in shock most of the day. I had hoped that after I had gone to sleep that night when I woke up, I was hoping it would be a bad dream. But it wasn't, and I still had to get out of bed and be a mother.
I felt devastated at the news. How could this be happening to me? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I felt like it was my fault; maybe something happened when he was in the womb, or perhaps it was something I did or ate. I wish I could remember, but I am so tired that I can even think anymore. I can't even open my eyes; they are swollen from crying all night. Family and friends have been calling, and I don't even want to talk because if I start to talk about it, I have to deal with it, and it just makes everything more real. I wish everyone would go away, so I could sleep my life away.
I envisioned having a beautiful, healthy boy when I was pregnant. Then just like that, SHATTERED! Like a glass breaking, all my dreams of my child come crashing down. My son would not have those things; well, at least that's what the doctors say. Do you know that they were trying to give me community living pamphlets for when he turns 18 years old? Can you believe that?
I am doing an OK job as a mother; some days, I wish I wasn't a mother. I am not sure if you are supposed to say that out loud, but I am so overwhelmed and tired.
I was exhausted!
Being a mother shouldn't be all I am known for or all I have to give in this life. I can't even imagine having a career or achieving any of the goals I had for myself. I don't even know what those are anymore; I don't even know my favorite color.
Most days, I run on adrenaline. I have no energy for myself; I want to sleep, but I just want time for myself, so I sit and watch TV to lose reality for a little bit. Sleep is not the greatest for me; I've become so hypervigilant because of my son. As a result, I don't feel rested in the mornings and take a long time to fall asleep. I wish I could take sleeping pills, but I can't because I feel like my husband wouldn't wake up as quickly if the kids needed us.
Everyone loves to give you quotes when you have a child with special needs. Here are a few of my favorites, and I say that sarcastically.
"God doesn't give you more than you can handle. "
"You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you have to do. "
I guess people don't know what to say to you.
Google became my new best friend. I researched many alternative therapies, diets, supplements, and programs. We will try each one until I can heal my child because that consumed me.
Some worked a little bit, and some seemed like a big waste of time and money. Don't they know I don't have time to waste or money to spend?
No one understands my pain!
I don't have a healthy child, and he may have to live with me for the rest of my life. It's not fair. Do you know what I sometimes do after I drop the kids off at school? I come home and lie on the couch and lose myself with tv, living my life vicariously through my shows. Before you know it, it has been 4 hours, and I have done absolutely nothing. The laundry needs to be done, and I want to order takeout because I don't have the energy to cook. I don't have the energy for anything.
After the kids are home, I get lost on my phone; I scroll over and over again on FB and Instagram, looking at all the happy family pictures and healthy kids. I can't even be around my friend's healthy kids; I have no connection with them and want nothing to do with them.
Social media is another outlet of mindless activity for me. Yet, it fills me with bad emotions such as jealousy and envy. Yet, I do this to myself every day, all day. But I can't stop. I wish I could be in that family; I wish I could like her; I wish my body would return to how it was before babies. We sacrifice so much, our bodies, our mind, our goals, our hormones, and our career. When does it end? Some days I don't blame the moms who run away. Heck, I have even thought about it.
But I stayed and am still here, miserable, tired of my life, and my patience is wearing thin. You must think I am a horrible mother; all I do is complain. Well, you put yourself in my shoes. I have no job because my son needs me, and my husband is somewhat helpful. Still, I don't think he understands how much I sacrifice for my family and isn't he supposed to make me happy. Yeah right! You would think he would be a bit more helpful; doesn't he see me running around like a chicken with her head cut off, going to therapy appointments, grocery stores, cleaning, laundry, and homework. When did this happen? When did the women end up doing everything? How did that come about? I wanted to talk to that person; I bet it was a man. That wouldn't be a surprise. Now I am starting to sound like a feminist. Hmm. I should stand up for something more than myself. Why do I have to do groceries? Really why? It's an unwritten rule. I despise grocery shopping; I really do hate it. The only thing I like is waiting in line and having the opportunity to read a gossip magazine.
I started therapy, and they talked about self-care. Yeah, right; I can't even go to the bathroom without a child opening the door and watching me. Let alone find time to shower daily, do my hair, and put on some decent clothes. They say to find a hobby; I am still trying to figure out what I like to do. They don't get it; no one gets it. I want out.
They want to give me medication, but I don't want it. Won't it make me gain weight, become a zombie, or become suicidal? I never really thought about suicide. They always ask me if I feel suicidal, and I always say no. The only thing I have thought about is running my car into a pole, but not to kill myself, just out of anger. It might feel good to smash something massive. Then, even if I was a little hurt, I would be in a hospital, and someone else could take care of me for just a little bit. That would be nice. Wait that sounds nuts. Maybe I am crazy, maybe? I do need serious help. But who is going to look after my family?
I need to snap out of this funk; enough is enough. I need to get myself together. I need to be more to myself than just being a mother. But I don't even know where to start…….
Fast forward, and I have really changed my life around. Motherhood consumed me, not just my days, but my whole entire being of who I was. I had to take charge. I had to change my pattern. If you keep the same pattern, you will get the same results. Life has more meaning to me now. I have found balance, acceptance, happiness, and boundaries.
I allowed myself to grieve for my son, the son I didn't have, and then I had to accept him for who he was. I took a step back from constantly trying to "fix him." What he needed was my love and my acceptance of who he was. I continued with programs that I believed would help him. Still, I set boundaries for myself and only spent a certain amount of time dealing with my son's diagnosis. Time was never on my side, but it is one of the things we waste as humans.
Do you know that we waste 21.8 hours a week?
I wasted it on my phone and tv, which I thought brought me happiness, but all it brought me was more of an escape from reality, jealousy, envy, and lack of self-esteem. I went through my Instagram account and started deleting people who didn't bring me joy or happiness, people who weren't on the same journey as me. Why torture yourself every day, all day? Can you imagine the damage that it is doing to your subconscious mind?
I started to wake up earlier than my kids and spent that time on myself.
So I wake up at 5:30 and go for a walk, listening to an inspiring podcast. I never imagined how much I would enjoy this time. Podcasts make me think, self-reflect, and inspire me to be better. After I get home from my walk, I sit down with my journal and write down everything I am grateful for. At first, this was a challenging exercise. For the longest time, I wasn't grateful for anything either than the general cliche typical things you say. I am grateful for my house, my kids, my husband, blah blah blah.
Life doesn't happen to you; it happens for you. I have an incredible journey ahead of me with big dreams.
There is absolutely no reason for them not to come true.
I have chosen love over fear.
I have chosen bravery over fear, acceptance over grief, and most of all, I have chosen myself.
I am responsible for my own happiness, and I can't wait to start creating it!