Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bman's DX: The Change

So the first few months after the diagnosis were rough. I was in denial, and didn't want to believe my child wasn't "normal". I think going through the process, the process of loss, hurt, grief was essential for me to become the mom I am today. The loss was the 'idea' of a perfect child. (I know plenty of neuro-typical kids who aren't perfect) No one is perfect.  The hurt was of course, feeling like there was something I did to make him this way. Like, it was my fault somehow.  And for grief, I think it was mostly about having a certain expectation of what being a mom was, or parenting all together. My job as mom was going to be ten times harder with the obstacles Bman's diagnoses brought forward, and I wasn't sure at the time, I could do it. I was scared, nervous, always questioning MY abilities and strength.

 Sharing with family and friends that he had autism was slightly difficult too. Although I'm ashamed to admit it, I was embarrassed at first. I was embarrassed because Bman had certain behaviors I didn't know how to explain. And even if I did try to explain, no one ever truly understood. Many people followed with (even after the diagnoses) that I was "being over dramatic" and he "was just fine" and to "give him time".  No matter where we went, people would just stare. Have you ever gone somewhere and had people just stare at you??? Its uncomfortable and awkward. The dreaded "he doesn't look autistic" statement ruffles my mamabear feathers so much. I want to reply back with, "yeah, and you don't look ignorant" haha. How do you know what autism looks like? Do you have autism?

I knew from that point on, during the first few months afterwards, that my perspective HAD to change. I cant allow other people, to act as they know more about my son then I do. I cant allow strangers ugly, uneducated stares, hurt me and my boy. I cant let the doubts whether I could do it, keep me from trying. I had to protect him, support him. Teach him that there's nothing wrong with him, he's just different and that's okay.  So what did I do next? I loaded myself up with ammo. I did more research in this short amount of time, then I probably did in HS all together.  I learned a lot, and knew I would change.

My outlook on life was so different. I didn't stay home anymore instead of going to the library, in fear of getting stared at, I still take both boys grocery shopping with me, they enjoy it, I enjoy it. (Bman LOVES the store) When we go to the zoo, instead of making sure Bman was always in the stroller, I let him out as much as possible; was he flappily walking by the 40 flamingos, yes!! Was he stimming back and forth on the elephant railing, yes! But he was happy, I'll never take away his happy moments. I will never allow someone else, to take away his happy moments. Those are his, and I'm glad he shares them with me.

 I wake up everyday and ask myself; "What's going to make him happy today?" If you answered Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with bowl of cheerios, you're right. But I think past that, when I pick him up from school and he flaps with excitement as he walks around the corner and sees me and his bro waiting for him flapping back, THAT makes him happy. When I read him the same book for the 1000th time that day, THAT makes him happy. When I let him repeatedly open/close the doors in the milk section at the grocery, THAT makes him happy. Be the change for your kids. Be the change in how the world accepts diversity.

"Why be normal, when you can be yourself"

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