Sun, May 8, 2011 1:20 pm
It's Mother's Day. I have been a mother of one child for 18 years, but somewhere I quit feeling like a mother, or what our culture says is a real mother.
Growing up, I had fantasies of what my Mother's Day would look like. In my fantasy, I always had anywhere from 3 to 5 children and on Mother's Day they always did the traditional, bring me breakfast in bed, brush my hair, paint my nails, take me to brunch, give me handmade cards, sit on my lap and shower me with kisses and hugs. I was going to be best friends with my children. I wanted a loud busy house filled with lots of laughter and lots of children.
My real Mother's day is quite different. My son is severly autistic. He has what they call "regressive autism", and has been this way since he was two years and some odd months old. During the night he was loud, a behavior that had decreased immensely since medication was added. However, he started blurting again last night. After having him be relatively quiet for a time, it is even more nerve racking and exhausting. We got up after hours of him yelling and me answering back through the walls. I made him some cereal and we have been sitting on the couch. Some times he laughs and smiles which always makes me happy, sometime he blurts or yells for no reason. It is never consistent.
This is a hard day. Mother's day. The stress of our situation, the financial burden, the lack of sleep, the constant work, the devastating and isolating aloneness. What my expectations of motherhood were make it even harder. Maybe I am narcissist, but somehow along the way the fact that my son is 18 and still severly autistic makes me feel like such a failure. I have tried everything, absolutely everything. I have financially ruined myself and my caring and giving mother as well. We do the diets, the ABA therapy, the speech therapy, and OT. I have taken him to Panama for stem cell three times. I have driven him out of state monthly for doctors appointments, I have had doctors from all over. I have spent thousands on supplements, blood tests, urine tests, fecal tests, allergy, and genetic testing. Throughout it all I have plunged into depths of despair that I have never thought possible.
I entertain horrendous thoughts at times. Thoughts no good mother should even think about. When my son was raging 24 hours a day, when he was pulling me across the room by my hair, splitting my lips, tearing my arms up, trying to stomp on my chest or bite my face, when I could find no services to help me and no doctor to explain what was going on, when I was to terrified to actually fall asleep, horrible thoughts would enter my mind. I felt my only course was to do something drastic to us both. What kind of person thinks things like that?
I don't know where we are going? I don't know what the future holds for us. I hope I have the strength to endure what comes my way but I make no guarantees. Autism has yet to be consistent in any way shape or form for me and my son. I will just do my best. I have learned to have no expectations. I have come to a strange, sad kind of acceptance. I am sure I will keep trying to do whatever I can, but I have quit pressuring myself. The frantic feeling is gone.
I am hoping that one day I will feel like a Mother again, that I won't dread Mother's Day. Who knows? I’m trying not to feel sorry for myself. But what if I do? Maybe I get to grieve every once in a while, I don't really think anyone will really notice either way. :)