Even before Charlie was diagnosed with Autism, deep down I craved support and camaraderie from other parents in my same situation. Honestly, I wanted confirmation that I wasn’t a bad mom, because despite all my efforts, the word failure clouded everything I did or didn’t do. In search of support, I perused a few forums but only found cattiness and often ruthless behavior.
Witnessing this lack of encouragement steered me clear of any and all so called support groups, internet or otherwise. It’s not that I didn’t need the support. Trust me, my head and heart desperately craved it, but the added stress and turmoil deterred me altogether.
Without friendship from other moms in my situation, I threw myself into research and reading blogs from moms like me. As I read each piece, I felt as though my own heart poured out these feelings so eloquently written; their words resonated through my entire being. The heartfelt honesty brought relief and comfort like no other person could; each word chipped away at the swelling loneliness that consumed me every day.
The breath of life these stories brought encouraged me to start my own blog, which led to an invitation to join a support group for writers who focus on special needs. Hesitation never entered my mind when joining, but I wish it had. In the short few days that I was part of this group, I questioned everything about my blog and not positively.
It leaves me deeply saddened for all special needs parents who are in search of a safe place to be comforted and share without judgment. After joining my first special needs group with parents who I thought shared my same mission, I have decided it’s easier to do it alone.
Luckily, I have befriended some amazing moms at my son’s school, but what about that mom that is still searching? My heart aches for her. Where can she find comfort? I urge her, you, to find solace where you can, but be weary of online support groups.
Please don’t let the flexed muscle of anonymity via the internet negatively affect your journey. Sheltered by a computer screen, some people feel the freedom to abandon all censorship with disregard to the feelings of others. Responsibility for their harsh words is left adrift while the victim struggles to gain their ground while waddling in the emotional rubble.
In the short amount of time that I have been part of the support group mentioned above, I have seen more arguments and plain disregard for others than I care to admit, even to myself. I wanted more, but it merely left an ache in my heart and distaste in my mouth.