By Brigitte Shipman | Feb 13, 2021. | Autism, Mother Guide, Self-Care, Self-Compassion
I have been on this autism journey as a mother guide for 28 years. It is a deep passion and purpose to share my heart’s journey. I have discovered that we all share pain, suffering, and our beautiful wins as mother guides. We understand one another in a way that is communicated with a simple look or nod when we share our stories.
We have all experienced the moment when we hear that our children have been diagnosed with a life long disability. We all grieve our hopes and dreams that once were for our beautiful child.
As we try to cope with our new realities, which are at times too much for our hearts to bear, we somehow find a way to keep moving. Acceptance of living life with autism is hard to fully embrace as a mother. The question that will come up is, now what? This is when we take our first step into our new world.
As we begin to research and desperately seek answers on how to help our children find independence and happiness, fear stops us in our tracks. Fear about the smallest daily life moments to what will happen to my child when I am gone one day.
These fears can begin to take over our minds and how we live our lives. It can be paralyzing. Then somehow we manage to push through it. I know because this is exactly what I did.
I would freeze with fear. I could feel it enter my body. I would feel that nausea in my stomach and then I would cry, or I would just keep moving. I would stuff whatever the fear or feeling that consumed my entire being. The only thoughts that I had were to find answers. I was trying to figure out which therapies would work best for Joseph along with living my life.
It never occurred to me that each time I felt my body react to my fearful paralyzing thoughts that I was slowly destroying my mind, body and yes, spirit.
Every part of me put my children, family, and all others before me. It was against my mother soul to care for myself first before others. It is as natural as giving birth to put our children before anything else in our lives. We are here to protect, teach, nourish, and love them more than anything else on this earth.
We have referred to the analogy of the oxygen masks dropping in front of us when the plane is projected to crash. We are told to put the mask on first, then on our children or anyone else. I thought I understood this and it made sense, but I am not sure I would follow through with it. I am sure as a result, my child and I would not survive. So, how can I make the shift to fully embrace that taking care of myself is truly a win-win life decision?
I did not embrace this concept well into my forties after living through many life tsunamis. Autism was just one of tsunamis. I finally understood it when I literally survived a diabetic coma, nervous break-down, and feeling my body getting weaker and weaker.
I knew I wanted to be here to continue to take care of my children and hopefully meet my grandchildren, so I decided I needed to make an ultimate shift, not only to survive, but to also feel joy again.
Making this shift of caring for yourself before anyone else is referred to as self-compassion. It is not selfish. It is a paradigm shift and it takes courage to practice self-love. It is a very difficult ideology for mothers to embrace because we have had so much practice putting ourselves last. Guilt is the dark emotion that comes up before we can even consider taking a step towards living this new life.
How do we make this shift? I can tell you that it is very simple. The first step is to give yourself permission to be healthy and happy. It is our choice. I hope you don’t put it off long enough to develop a chronic illness like I did. I have learned that simply deciding will lead to the pathway of practicing self-love.
Living with the ability to care for ourselves first is being able to trust and know that you are worth it, just as your child. Remember we want a win-win.
If you want to make the ultimate shift that is essential for a mother guide, then take a big beautiful breath. Now, let’s begin with taking a very small step to begin the shift.
I want you to know you can stand in the same place with all the same circumstances and experience either the feeling of heaven or hell. Once you shift you will know how to choose the sunny side of the street even on your worst days.
Small Steps To Making The Ultimate Shift:
If you begin to talk yourself out of it, then remember that this comes from the same place of doing for your child. You would not question doing anything to help your child. So, follow through with love for yourself, knowing that this is helping your child. I know you can do it! Stay committed and practice, practice, practice.
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