Do you feel like you have a constant ache in your heart?
Do you wake up and go to bed filled with deep sadness?
Do you feel lost and uncertain with your child’s diagnosis?
Do you feel like no one understands your deep pain?
Are you desperately looking for answers, but don’t know where or who to ask?
Are you seeking support from someone who has traveled many miles on the autism journey?
If you are craving a safe place to sort out your pain, fear, and next steps on your autism journey then this is the program for you.
I can remember and feel the pain I carried with me for many years after my son was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. Although I practiced stuffing my deep grief, it became a part of me like a new limb that was useless to me. I didn’t know how to get rid of it so I just ignored it for the most part.
I felt like I had no one to talk to about what I was feeling or any part of my own personal suffering. I did not have any practices in place to help me manage my deep grief that I felt for my son and his future. Grief for me was always present and came out of me when I least expected it.
I can remember my “go to” at the time was a song by Natalie Merchant called "Wonder." When I listen to this song it still makes me cry, but now cry with happiness and relief. I lived by these lyrics of hope and inspiration: Here is a bit of the lyrics that held my hand when I felt my deep grief:
I believe, fate smiled
and destiny laughed
as you came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She’ll make her way,
He’ll make his way. (I changed She’ll to He’ll for my son)
This was a small outlet that I found to help get through my darkest days, but grief did not serve me. I did not know how to move through my grief or that grief could serve me. That might sound like an oxymoron, but grief can serve you when you can move through it.
You can learn practices to help you move through grief and find hope for you and your child as you travel on your autism journey. I have traveled this path for 28 years and I have discovered strategies to help move forward through grief and live with hope for the future.
To update you on my extra limb of grief that I carried with me for many years, it no longer is with me. I want to be clear that I still feel grief, but now I know how to move through it, and allow pain to serve me. I know this for sure… If I can do it, you can do it.
Are you ready to walk through your grief and heal your mother’s soul to find a new beginning? If so, take my hand, and let’s begin.
I don’t remember driving home after hearing that my son was autistic. I heard ringing in my ears and thought the pain I felt in my heart was going to kill me.
It was truly a moment when everything changed in an instant. I began to try and process the news but it was impossible at that moment.
The son that we had known for the past three years no longer existed in my mind. I now believed that my son’s life was going to be a struggle. I was grief stricken. I wanted to hold my baby and just sob for our loss. My sweet innocent child. I could barely function from the pain I felt.
The pain and grief remained within my body and still holds a place inside of me 28 years later. The journey of autism has been daunting, exhausting and full of stress for many years.
I did not know how to manage my life as a wife, friend, educator, and mostly as a mother of an autisic child. I felt completely overwhelmed with finding answers for Joseph. What do I do first? Where do I go? Who can help us?
As I reflect back to the day I was told that my son was autistic it was as though my world turned upside down. I felt like I was lost. I didn’t know how to navigate myself, my family, and my sweet son.
How do I find answers, balance, and joy in my life? How can I live in a world that feels bright once again? I was disoriented and I needed to find my way back to a world that made sense to me.
As I continued searching I discovered that there were other mothers out there who felt like I did. Their lives were turned upside down just as mine had a few years earlier.
I realized that if we could come together then we could share our knowledge, resources, grief and have a safe place to move forward on our journey. I found support in others who were on the autism journey. I found strength and comfort in sharing what was very difficult with what small progress we had made.
I also discovered that I could create my support network with my families and friends. I was a teacher, so I would try and teach as many parents, teachers, and anyone who would listen to what I had learned and experienced. Support was one of the ways I slowly began to make sense of my life.
I have so many life lessons I collected along the way. One of the big ones for me was that I would not survive if I did not take care of myself.
I was one of those moms that put everyone and everything before myself. I felt selfish and guilt took over when I would spend time away from my son and husband. I felt like I was not doing a good job as a wife and mother.
My son was difficult for most others to keep even for a few hours. It was hard for me to let go and manage any time for just me. I was physically and emotionally drained. I did not have the self-care practices that I could use in my life.
In fact, I didn’t know what it meant. I would get in my workout most of the time, but that is where taking care of myself began and also ended. I finally came to a point where my body had enough and I was diagnosed with a lifelong chronic illness.
I had all the signs along the way, but I just kept moving. This lesson is a hard one for most moms, but I believe that this is the foundation that leads us back to living a balanced life. We must take care of ourselves to be able to take care of anyone else.
Another thing I learned is that so many of my days were spent believing thoughts that simply were not true. You might have heard of “self-talk.” This is how we talk to ourselves.
Most of my thoughts were negative and filled with stress and anxiety. “What if Joseph doesn’t know how to ask for things at school?” “What if he never has any friends?” “What if????” You get the picture. I held on tight to my fear of the future. I was living in fear of what might be rather than living in possibilities and what I knew was truth.
I now have tools that help me notice my thoughts and how to get rid of all the negative beliefs that are not true. This was a step to living toward freedom.
Being an autism mom is certainly a struggle, but it is also pure happiness. Celebrating each day is essential because we are living our lives with the most rewarding gifts, our children. Our lives are meant to be celebrated.
What I know for sure is that even on our most challenging days there is a reason to celebrate. We just need to live from our grateful hearts, notice the joyful moments, laugh, and make lemonade out of our beautiful bright yellow lemons.
Life is beautiful and I now see the world bright side up rather than upside down and it feels perfectly imperfect.
I offer coaching to mothers of autistic children so you can begin to see the world bright side up and see the gifts that this life with autism offers.
Sending you love,