Sunday, May 10, 2009

Being a Mother

I was planning on a different post today, but decided on this theme instead in honor of Mother's Day.

As a mother of two sons with special needs, I've pondered how my experiences with them have changed my perspective of motherhood.

Because having a child with special needs certainly brings a new dynamic to the demands placed on me as a mother:

- There are times I feel lonely and isolated as I see mothers with "normal" children around me.
- There are extra sacrifices I am required to make as I try and prepare these sons for life in the "real" world.
- There is a certain amount of guilt I carry; was I responsible in some way for creating these problems for my children because of something I did or didn't do during my pregnancies?
- There is also the constant worry that I am spending too much of my time on my autistic children to the detriment of my two "normal" kids.

In spite of these challenges, I know that my time with my "Aspie" sons has definitely shaped me into a better person.....and a better mother.

*I have become much better educated about the psychological and neurological development of children, as well as the differences that accompany an autistic child.
*I have had opportunities to become a help and mentor for other mothers struggling with a diagnosis of autism for their child.
*I have learned to become a stronger advocate for my children - both the autistic and neurotypical ones.
*I have learned patience as we work on certain developmental milestones over and over again before they are finally conquered.
*I have learned to appreciate the little things in life, as many of my sons' accomplishments are everyday events that people often take for granted.
*I have learned that I am stronger and more capable than I had ever imagined.

Motherhood itself is a difficult job, but parenting a child with special needs can make it even harder. Yet, due to the extra effort it often requires, I believe being a mother to these wonderful children brings even greater rewards in many ways.

Like when Little Guy and I are at the park moving through his daily ritualistic order of swings, slides, and monkey bars and I notice that our hands, although different sizes, are somehow a perfect fit.

Or when Big Guy is excitedly relating yet again one of his favorite "Far Side" cartoons with his special, crooked smile covering his face.

But especially when one or the other gives me one of their rare hugs. That's when it hits me. Hard.

Just how much I love being a mother.

Their mother.

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