I think most Autism blogs have now written posts on what Autism Awareness Day means to them so I thought it best to share my personal view.
Just a bit of background… I have always been, for lack of a better word, seeking, and always looking for something. Something bigger!! As a young adult, I could never find the one thing I was called to do. Then I met the most amazing ma in the world, and I married him as soon as I could 😍
Shortly thereafter, we decided to materialise our dream of having a big family. When Bear was born I thought this is it!! This is the amazing calling I was chosen for, being the best mother for Bear! Then Monkey arrived and life was perfect! Never in my wildest dreams did I realise what I was really getting prepared for. The journey I was about to embark on as a person, a mother, and a wife.
Being a mother is hard! It’s the hardest thing I have ever done! Being responsible for such amazing little creatures is something I never thought I would be entrusted with. And I was blessed with four of them!!! Can you believe it?!?! Nobody told be though that when you become a mother that you will never sleep properly again. In my case, it’s not the waking babies keeping me from sleeping, it’s worrying!! While I’m awake I worry. Even when I catch a bit of shuteye, I worry.
Of course, I have all the normal worries that any parent has like what schools are the best for our kids, are they eating enough, are they happy, etc. However, the worry that keeps me awake at night is what will the world do with our special kids? What will happen when I am not there anymore to look out for them? When I am no longer there to explain to them why people are staring, why some people are so opinionated; voicing their opinions on how ‘normal’ kids should behave!!
To be completely honest, this year is the first year that I even knew there was an Autism Awareness Day. It’s hard to believe now looking back, considering how loud the ASD community is for their cause.
I am a person who believes in attachment parenting and Montessori. I’m not particularly good at it 24/7, but I do believe in it!! When Lucky was still a baby, if I saw a child freaking out in public I would think that they needed more love. I thought surely on an emotional level, not all their needs are met. Moreover, they need to be held more; they need ‘time ins’. Then obviously, a couple of years ago my views changed dramatically.
Having a toddler who is loved, attached, co-sleeping, etc. from birth and yet still freaks out for no apparent reason is mysterious. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to get him engaged with playtime activities, he is just not interested. He wanted to be alone, all the time and when he was finished playing alone and felt hungry, he had meltdowns. No in between phases. And, as he got older, he just refused to talk. He would just point, make sounds and if he didn’t get what he wanted, he had a meltdown. The older he got, the worse it got. I felt like a complete failure!! I mean surely by the third child one would get the hang of things right? Not in our case. To make matters worse, none of the GPs or Paediatricians ever advised us about Autism and I had never met anybody on the spectrum so I just thought it was my parenting that caused Lucky’s behavioural problems.
Long and short Lucky was diagnosed, therapy began and our crash course in ASD began. I’m happy to say two years later and A LOT of reading, we now understand our boy and we love and respect him for who he is.
What does scare me is when I think back to how I viewed meltdowns and the amount of times strangers have voiced their opinions, and hence what is going to happen to Lucky when I’m not there anymore?
So now I feel like I have finally found my purpose in life!! Creating awareness for Autism!! Telling the whole world how amazing my boy and every other Autistic person in the world is!! I believe that Autistic people were created to show the rest of humankind how we were meant to be! Honest, blunt, creative, sensitive, kind, childlike, unpretentious, trusting!! That is what Lucky teaches us every day and I will not stop until the whole world can see that!!