One of the Storyblenders from our Storyblend Facebook Group shared a part of her life that was difficult, raw and heartfelt. Becoming pregnant is hard enough as it is. Then your baby arrives and you pray that they will be healthy and safe. You go through the check boxes and stages, hoping they will hit every milestone and progress as they should according to mental, emotional and physical benchmarks. But we are not all that lucky. Some people are thrown more difficult paths, and this Storyblender says she just wasn’t prepared for this. There’s no way to prepare for the unknown, all we do in life is the best we can do. I can say without question that this mom is a super mom. Reading her story tugged on my heart strings and I hope all people are able to be a little more kind and understanding with the many take-aways from our Storyblender.
“Growing up, I was only taught to see the obviously disabled. The kid with cerebral palsy. Down’s Syndrome. Crutches and canes. The paralyzed and so many more. The people with these conditions obviously need understanding and compassion. I was raised to judge, compare, and be angry at all other who wouldn’t conform, so I can’t help but wonder if this is my karma.
I am the mother of a special needs child. By outward appearances, my child is comparable and on a developmentally typical path – but my child is not. Life can be rough a lot of days.
I just spent my afternoon in tears over this. We needed groceries and went to the store. My child, after spending so much time quarantined, got over-stimulated and over-excited. When my child gets this way, things can get DANGEROUS. I almost abandoned my cart and left the store, but we gotta eat. I had to get through it: the noise, judging eyes, embarrassment, and all.
Once outside, it’s an imperative safety measure that all of my kids get belted in before the groceries. My child can run around, or even run off. My child getting hit in the parking lot is a fear I carry with me every time I have to take my child to the store. I just never know if it will be a calm or stimulated trip. There are just too many variables. Yes, when there’s a bagger available, I do ask for assistance out.
Today was NOT calm, as I have said. Only now my child is old enough to unbuckle not only themselves, but my other children too! I couldn’t find a spot near the cart return so I had to calculate whether or not taking my cart to the return was safe for my children or not. It doesn’t matter how close or far it was, kids are QUICK. I decided not and left my cart where the lines of the parking spots intersect and turned the wheels to prevent rolling.
Evidently, my decision makes me “garbage” to my community. It makes me lazy, entitled, and a horrible mother for “using my kids as an excuse.”
Now, I know, the passers-by don’t know that my child is special needs, but really? That’s what got them all worked up today? THAT’S what’s be worth bitching about? I tried to ignore it. I usually tell myself that these same people would be calling for my head if my child did escape my car and ended up dead – hypocrites! But today, I got a stab through the heart.
“I’m sorry ma’am, but I don’t want to go that far from my kids. If they got out…”
“If you can’t handle the kids you have, maybe you shouldn’t be having that one!”
I’m 8 months pregnant and that one hurts EVERY TIME. I don’t feel like I have the right to just announce that my child is special needs to every jerk, so I said nothing in retort. I got in my car and drove home. I attempted to hide the tears from my kids the whole time, but how do explain such a thing to such small kids? I blamed the pregnancy hormones, which I am sure do not help.
Little things like that happen all the time. We’ve been kicked out of play groups, ghosted, etc. I even had one woman suggest that my child receives an exorcism because of how my child behaves when over-stimulated or over-excited!
As a result, this is a lonely life for us all. I am unprepared. I am learning how to mother my child in the way my child needs. I am learning new tools for my motherhood toolbox. I got my child an IEP at school. I’m getting all the professional help for my child that I can. I am praying my babysitter doesn’t quit! The stigma, judgement, and general lack of understanding from the public isn’t helping. It weighs heavily on my shoulders too frequently.
So if you see a caregiver with a ‘wild child’, please be kind. Maybe offer to take the damn cart back for her? Maybe offer a smile and some encouraging words? A little bit of kindness can mean the world to a special needs family.”