My eldest son’s pregnancy was textbook as they say, I ate well took my vitamins, exercised, I ate fish every day and cut back caffeine, even though I was 18 I did everything I could to ensure my son was born healthy, my son slept in my arms every day and night, he was and still is so incredibly loved, he is just different and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
My son is now 9 years old, to the average on looker he seems to be like any other 9 year old boy, but he isn’t your typical 9 year old and our journey together as a family has been one of many ups and downs, many crossroads and achievements but there is one thing that has stuck out for me and stuck with me most of all and that is the judgment I have received and seen done onto other special needs families.
I have received judgment for many things as a mother; having a c section, formula feeding, extended breast-feeding, co sleeping, cloth diapering but the judgment I have seen reflected upon my family and son due to his disorder has by far been the most heartbreaking and worst to deal with.
Why I ask should I or any other parent have to point out that my child has a disorder or medical issue for people to at least be somewhat empathetic, why should any parent have to explain or have to deal with the judgment or any child for that matter… I can tell you the judgment doesn’t do anything to help that child and is the reason why so many young children and teenagers are committing suicide today, the judgment and the bullying.
You would think that in today’s age where we have so much knowledge and information available that people would be less judgmental and ignorant but sadly this is not the case and sometimes the journey can be made to be incredibly difficult and lonely when you feel no one understands or wants to.
The first problem we have faced is that children with adhd, anxiety, ocd and even high functioning autism amongst many other disorders generally look and seem to be ‘normal’ to a stranger, there is nothing physically wrong that someone can see so when your child has a meltdown in the middle of a store all people see is a ill-disciplined brat who in their words because I have heard it all before deserves a good hiding, I have even had someone say that if I didn’t they would!
To those people I say I wish it was that easy, shock and horror gasp a hiding, I grew up with them and I won’t lie and say I have never given my children one, however every child is different and I assure you that if it was as simple as a hiding or doing one magical thing instead of having people stare and gawk and frown and mutter we would do it.
Then there is the problem of those who believe that you are medicating your child because you are a lazy parent who just cannot handle the children you have.
To those people I say; first off if you had any idea how much the medication costs you would think again, we barely survive and I would love to have that extra near 2 grand in my pocket every month, I also say to you that you have no idea how much or how far most moms of special needs kids have gone before they have tried medication.
I know there are kids out there who are medicated and who don’t need to be but trust me most parents do it as a last resort, for us we tried everything from supplements and natural remedies to diets that left me cooking gluten dairy and additive free meals until the early hours of the morning, to exercise programs and activities we couldn’t afford, to play therapy and general therapy, psychiatrists and psychologists, routine changes, changing schools, parenting plans coming out of our ears before we finally relented and tried the medication, it went against every fiber of our being as parents but we did it in the end because we needed to do what was best for our child and that was treat a medical issue he had like you would for any other illness or disorder.
And yet you can still explain all of this till the cows come home and be judged and usually by woman and even more so moms which is just unbelievable to me, and usually these are woman who have no idea what they are talking about they read one article and think they know everything, they have never known the journey or the struggle and how hard life is for the child especially.
People who have no idea how difficult it is to see your child miserable on almost a daily basis because they are pushed aside and ostracized because they are different and see things differently or how when something goes wrong they are to blame even when they are not in the room, this has happened to me and I was verbally assaulted by a parent with my infant son in my arms and child at my side, when the camera footage proved he was not there I received no apology no nothing, every time one of my children is pushed or bitten or hurt by another child I have to be quiet because I know how it is to be on the other side of the coin and because I know that I am that parent, the parent who has the ‘difficult’ child and so I can never dare complain, I once received a letter from a parent several pages long when my son was 2 because he bit a child, the woman insisted my child be removed, her child bit mine a few days later, in my opinion our children were at that age and my child bit hers it was understandable that the child bit back did I insist that child be removed and would I have if my son not bitten hers in the first place, no I would not.
I had to sit in the principal’s office at my sons school 2 weeks ago and listen to how a mom had insisted my son be removed from the class because he is “disruptive”, even though we are literally doing everything we can I will not drug my child to zombie point to please another parent, people have no idea how hurtful and heartbreaking it is, how frustrating and aggravating.
Special needs schools are few and far between, the government ones are overflowing and have waiting lists the private ones cost 5000 a month, 2 years back we were told our son wasn’t special needs enough and now we are told it is what he needs asap, I have to work and still try and get 2 days off a month for therapy, you only get 15 days of leave a year so work that one out, it also takes time, if you find someone who will diagnose your child after 10 minutes you need to find someone else, you cannot make these processes go faster… my child did not choose to be born with special needs and neither did any other child.
From the moment you see those 2 pink lines you envision your child’s future so many hopes and dreams, my child still deserves that future, our journey has just been somewhat different, there are many things I wish I could have done differently in my life, but my son is not one of them.
I guess what I am trying to say from this article if you haven’t concluded this already is that you never know what another person or family is going through, some things cannot be visibly seen from the outside and that judgment does nothing to help, I know it is shocking to see a child throw a fit in a store to get violent or scream or throw themselves around especially as they get older. I know it is difficult to understand but it doesn’t hurt to try.
It doesn’t hurt to extend a hand of friendship or give a reassuring smile, it doesn’t hurt to say hey they are kids and I understand, it doesn’t hurt to ask why or how, it doesn’t hurt to get down to my child’s level… there are many days where I do not understand what is going on in my sons head, I wish I did it would make things much easier but I don’t and I don’t think I ever will, but we try just as every other parent does, we are all just trying our best we are all new in some or other way whether you have one child or 10, words of understanding go a long way and that goes for every aspect of motherhood, I will never understand how woman and mothers can be so incredibly judgmental towards others because they do not agree with what someone else is doing with their child, we as woman and mothers need to stand together not against each other.
No child or parent is perfect we are all doing the best we can with what we have and I think we all need to remember that.
This post was written by featured blogger, Chastin from Crazy Momma of Three.
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