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"How to Show Support and Love on Mother's Day for a Mom with a Child Diagnosed with Autism"

It's May 11th and I am sitting here wondering what to say to my husband. He has asked me several times what I want to do for Mother's Day and I just can't give him an answer. Sure, I want silence, no one touching me, and a minute to myself, but I find myself not being able to say that out loud.

The truth is my life is not about me, it's about my kids and their needs and that's how my mind works. Just like when the clock hits 11:11 my wish is for both of my children to use words. I want that for them. I want them to communicate. Can that be my Mother's Day wish?

I have 4 children. My stepchildren are typical 9-year-olds who play sports, have many friends, and excel in school. I also have a 3-year-old (who's turning 4 on May 13th) who was diagnosed with nonverbal autism in October 2021. Last, but certainly not least, is my soon-to-be 2-year-old who is quite energetic. Both of my biological children combined have spoken 5 words.

Mother’s Day Wishes

Things That Run Through Our Minds for Mother's Day

Thought 1: On May 9, I got a hard dose of reality with Ellis. He was uncomfortable and not regulated wants so ever. He trashed his body from side to side, hit himself in the head consistently, and just cried as loud as possible. I felt helpless. I wanted to ease the pain and help him find the regulation he needed to be calm, but hours went by, and nothing. We tried the weighted blanket, deep pressure, food, milk, a stuffy, rocking, etc and finally, he succumbed to his sleep medication and went to bed. As a mother, it was the most wretched feeling to watch and experience. Can I have the power to understand him better than I already do?

Thought 2: For the last two weeks, I have done nothing but feel immense grief and sadness. I thought this was over. I thought I had passed these stages of grief, but now I am faced with more. I have my little one in speech therapy, so I worry a lot. It's a lot to tackle. Emotionally, I am overwhelmed. Mentally, I have a hard time compartmentalizing. Physically, I am sore. So, for Mother's Day can I just have a little peace in my mind?

Thought 3: I feel absolutely disgusting. My hair needs to be done, my skin is breaking out, my stomach is in a constant state of pain, and I am always tired. I feel like I need a makeover inside and out. Is that even possible? Yet, I don't want to be away from my kids. It makes me nervous and sometimes the break is worse than just sticking around. Is that stupid? I want to do all the "wellness" things you see floating around like cold plunges, green smoothies, 60 minutes of exercise, meditation, etc but my time is not on my schedule. Some days I am the 3 am club, others the 5 am club, and on lucky days the 7 am club. There are nights we are up until 1 am and others we go to bed a 9 pm. My son dictates my life and if you don't have a child with autism then you won't understand that this is not something we can automatically just train.

What is My Mother's Day Wish?

Peace of mind? A break? Someone to comfort me? The answers? Can I have these things? The answer is probably not. I have committed my life to my children and I understand that this is a radical change that has impacted our life greatly, but I wouldn't change my son. He is what god made him and he's beautiful.

What I really want is to learn coping mechanisms, understand how to help myself thrive, lessen my fight-and-flight modes, and become a healthier version of myself. I need to find the beauty in myself and the life I have been graciously given. It's a mindset thing and I know this.

My Final Thought for This Mother's Day

As moms gifted a child with autism, we had to shift that concept of life we thought we would have. We may never see our children play team sports, speak, or be "developmentally appropriate", but I have found that the little things we take for granted are brightened with this life. Watching Ellis spell his name for the first time was one of the most sparkling moments of my life. The amazement of his jumping over a block, the first time he said mama, the crazy way he can put together puzzles, finding out he can count to 20 through his AAC device, and gapping at his amazing galloping skills are all moments that have made me beyond grateful for this little boy. What I lost in my "perfect" dream was recreated and changed into a different dream.

Do I have moments of intense struggle? For sure and I am not sure that will ever change. This is still new and we are all still coping. I would say for me I am on the path of radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is letting go of the need to control, judge, and fight again negative emotions. It's accepting what is. There is no perfect here. So, if you have come to this place for perfection you won't find it. I have tried to be perfect for so long and I am done with it.

So, my Mother's Day wish for this year, I want a path to bask in shear bliss of life, I want my children to be happy within themselves, I want my husband and me to continue to be in this together, and I want to find a new love for myself that is inside and out. My children are beautiful, fascinating, and I love each one of them deeply.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!




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