From the Heart of a Special Needs Mom

My heart feels so heavy almost every day. I try to suffocate these malignant feelings with happiness and fun which works most of the time, but sometimes the heart ache is too great for even the sweetest of moments to kill. Today is one of those days.

I reside in these dark seasons every once in awhile. I don’t stay here long; I have to be Mom and Wife and don’t have time for the effects it brings.

In these dark, lonely moments, I try to convince myself that I am a good mom, but the self-doubt is overwhelming. Why can’t I control my 3 ½ year old? Why is Autism stronger than my best efforts? I don’t understand. I do my best, but it never feels good enough.

Before Autism, I knew I was a good mom. It was measured by my sweet sons’ behavior, my patient mothering, and all the giggles we shared. Now, it’s not so simple.

Being a mom in the world of Autism is never simple. I am the navigator, but there is no set route to take, no guidebook. Every decision weighs heavy on my heart and mind. How much therapy? What therapies? Where? Mothering is now about making the right choices that will affect my son for the rest of his life. That burden weighs so much.

Being a mom was so simple before. Keep them alive. Feed them healthy…ok, mostly healthy food, and teach them to be kind people who love God. Autism complicates motherhood. I am the path maker for my son. No one sets out this route; the therapists ask me what I want them to work on. The road is unpaved, because guess what, almost every kid with Autism is different. What works for my friend’s son won’t work for my son.

It’s even harder when other Autism moms can’t relate to your struggles, because most of your friends can’t either. It gets pretty lonely in this space, even when you’re surrounded by amazing people. As amazing as they are, they don’t live in my shoes. They don’t share the same worries.

I worry about the baby all the time. Every time he bangs his head on something or freaks out in his car seat, my heart literally stops. I know he doesn’t have Autism, but I can’t help but think: Charlie did this too. I can not travel this Autism road again! Even the thought is too much! I stuff these thoughts deep down; I can’t entertain their suffocating grips.

Most days, I slap a warm smile on my face and move on, but today I’m choosing to “rest” in this dark place. Yes, this happy go lucky momma is opting to wade in the sewage of self-doubt, pity, sadness, and heartache, and it’s okay.

I’m only resting here. I know this is a dangerous place, but I need the cry. Pent up tears are more dangerous than letting them out for me. Thankfully, I only visit this dark place every so often and not for long. I can’t even think about living here; it would destroy me. It would destroy my family.

I’m sharing this to let you know this journey is hard. It’s okay to feel this way, and it’s okay to “visit” the sadness. Just try not to over stay your welcome. I don’t want sympathy or pity…just a bit of grace and acceptance when I’m living in these hard pockets of life.