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Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Advice For the Autism Mom (Guest Post by Mrs. Bacon!)


Stop blaming yourself.  We may never know in our lifetime what ultimately caused our precious child’s autism, but trying to reverse the clock or dwelling on the past is not going to be productive or helpful for you or your child.

Take time for yourself.  It took me about 3 years into our autism journey to figure this out.  Since I became a mom, I had always put everyone else as a priority – except for myself.  I learned to say ‘no’; I set goals for myself and found a hobby I really enjoy (triathlons) and signing up for races forced me to stay committed to a work-out schedule which has been a life saver for me.  I’m in better shape now then I was 20 years ago – and it’s the BEST thing I did for my mental health too.  Find 3 hours a week for yourself –3 measly hours – you are worth it!

Ask for and/or accept help and be OK if things are not perfect.    I’m a mom.  I should be able to run the household, keep tabs on my children, still manage my full-time job, volunteer at schools, help out friends or family, and still have time to do that cute little craft project that I read about in a magazine. Well, apparently I am NOT super-woman and can’t do it all.  I’m finally ok with that – laundry piles up for more than a week; the dust bunnies linger on the floors for longer than I’d like; and well those craft projects will just have to wait until another year….  I’ve been blessed to have help from family that I know not everyone has access to.  Our family senses when we need a break and just gives it to us…. For that I’m grateful!  But it was very important for me to learn to ASK for help when it’s needed.

Embrace the autism community.  At first I couldn’t even bring myself to say the “A” word without completely crumbling into tears.   I resented people mailing me articles they read, or asking me if I wanted to talk to someone’s great Aunts neighbor who knew a child with autism.  In time though, I ventured into that world and have been lucky enough to make some fantastic friendships.  All parents are considered “protectors” of their children – but I am regularly amazed by the mob-like support you can get from other autism parents.  There is an intensity and simplicity that is shown that takes my breath away.

Live in the present.  My husband had to give me this polite smack on the head sometime last year and if I remember his quote exactly it went something like “stop mourning the life you thought you would have, and start enjoying the life you do have!”  I still have to battle these feelings.  I often feel like I live in different time periods “before autism” “during autism” and I have an “after autism” in my head too.  I know they aren’t exactly logical ….  Living in the present will help you to focus on the daily victories instead of the future worries that we all have.

And lastly, my most important tip to remember…..make sure the therapy center you visit weekly with your child has a place nearby where you can get a quick pedicure while you wait for your child!  ;-) Remember- taking care of YOU is important!

6 comments:

  1. Love this! Thanks so much for being willing to share this with us. :) You are an encouraging and inspirational mom and lady. :)

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  2. Amen to all of that - it is exactly what my daughter and her husband have gone through and I particularly can relate to "Living in the present will help you to focus on the daily victories instead of the future worries that we all have."
    Many of hr earlier blogs focus on this "mourning the life you thought you'd have" see www.autismandlove.com (think Mr Bacon does follow it already)

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  3. This is important information to share. We are mothers will never fully escape the guilt. [Did I eat well enough? Did I have too many lattes? Did I forget my prenatals once too often? Did I make the right decision to vax/formula feed/breast feed/etc.?] We just have to try to live with it as best we can and focus on the now, rather than the woulda/coulda/shouldas. :)

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  4. And if all else fails look at those around you whose children have far worse physical or even terminal disabilities and then apply coulda, shoulda, woulda to their situation. It may not help or even be relevant...but it puts things into perspective. BUT also remember all you wonderful autism moms and dads it Is OK to sometimes feel a bit sad for yourselves...as long as you CAN pull yourselves, or each other, round to your isual high standard super parents you all are. X

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  5. I still cannot accept the diagnosis my nearly 7-year-old son has received. I cannot say it. If I think about it too much, I actually vomit. On an intellectual level, I realize his brain is the way his brain is, even if you call 'ASD' or something else. We received the dx Oct 2013 and is now May 2014.

    The fact that I am stuck, and 'closeted' , is not helpful. Our son's school called a meeting last week about our son's behaviour-e.g. Hand flapping, and social skills, I,e. No friends. We have not told them the dx because I cannot face it. Also, I do not want him to be defined by any label; he is a whole, complex person. The fact that I cannot say the words was not beneficial at this meeting. It may not have ended differently even if I could say the words. They already believe he has ASD, and therefore cannot make friends, at least that was my interpretation.

    Reading this article was helpful to me. I hope one day to realize the dx isn't even about me. Diagnosis or no diagnosis, our family is the way it is.

    I am not sure why I am writing this or posting it, but here it goes...

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