8/2/10

for you

Sometimes Mother Guilt is about more than the junk food our kids eat or how much TV they watch.

I have a friend who has a boy who has something. There's something wrong. My friend is looking at herself and asking questions. What could I have done differently? Maybe it's because I did this? Maybe it's because I didn't do that? Was it the shots? Is it his diet? Maybe I shouldn't have sent him to kindergarten yet....maybe all that stress triggered this, this new person he's becoming....

His behavior is obviously changing, moving him higher on The Spectrum. And his mom sits terrified, waiting for what he'll do next, and what the assessors will say after her firstborn boy is evaluated and scrutinized and labeled.

She is exhausted with three kids, listening to his high-pitched screeching sounds all day every day after very little sleep. This is new, he didn't make this deafening sound before and he says he can't stop. Oh, please make it stop.

Ironically, she worked in special education for years before having children. But this is the Other Side, this is not the way it's supposed to be.

She sits across from me and the pain in her face is too much. This is too much. I want to fix it because I'm me and because she is her. She is unconditional and she is selfless and she sits in a very large space in my heart, taking up room that was put there just for her.

My friend, I want to hold you like that scene in Good Will Hunting with Robin Williams and Matt Damon, until it settles in, moves from your mind to your heart. This is not your fault. This is not your fault. This is not your fault.

Sometimes Mother Guilt is about more than worrying over whether or not we're playing with our kids enough or signing them up for enough activities.

Sometimes it's just too big.

I love you, friend. Please forgive the entirely nerdy video that goes along with our song...but I figured you could use some Sara today and this was all there was on YouTube. And anyway, we like quotes, so maybe it's alright...






When some time has passed us and your story can be told, it will mirror the strength and the courage of your soul.

19 clicked right here to comment:

Suburban Correspondent said...

If it's any comfort, it might not be an autistic behavior so much as an OCD one. And there are some pretty good drugs for that.

Also? I read somewhere that some children suddenly display OCD behaviors after a strep infection. I can't find the reference right now, but researchers have found that a course of antibiotics can help in these cases.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Here's an article about it. The syndrome is called PANDAS.

Hugs to your friend.

Wendi@Every Day Miracles said...

Ughhh...tears

Denise said...

You my dear...well, how blessed you two are to have each other. Goosebumps and tears.

Julie Lost and Found said...

I have given you a blog award. Love reading your blog. Come on over to get it at: http://www.julielostandfound.blogspot.com

Amber Page Writes said...

I can only imagine her pain. But at least she has a friend like you to help her through it.

Tooje said...

I never confide in my friends. That's such a strange sentence to type. I love my friends, I care for them, I hope that they confide in me. But I don't return the favor. Or the burden, as it would more appropriately be. I can't. I feel like sharing the secrets that are my everyday burdens would somehow lessen me, my family, in their eyes.

But you....Heather, you seem like a person who would be a safe harbor for secrets. Your friend, while burdened with her struggles and the guilt most of all, is lucky to have you. I hope that you're able to provide the comfort she needs. I'm certain she returns the favor for you.

I hope she's finding peace as we "speak". Happy Monday.

DeNae said...

What is it about motherhood and guilt, anyway? I guess we want to make sense of our world, and when there are no easy answers we decide that it must have been us all along. Guilt that our child struggles, guilt that we are aching for some kind of relief - for them as well as for us, guilt that somehow we aren't better equipped to play the hand we've been dealt, as though somehow we were supposed to anticipate the difficulty and do what? Take classes?

My heart goes out to your friend. It's likely that the answers to her child's problem are out there. The bigger challenge will be in letting this be his issue, not hers, by which I mean she needs to see herself as a facilitator for improvement, not as the source of the problem. I have to think that it's the only way to preserve her objectivity - and her sanity.

Becca said...

It is amazing how we moms take our kids' behaviours and create definitions for ourselves out of them. "I'm the mom of the cute one/the whiny one/the smart one/the angry one/the ill one/the quiet one" and somehow, even though we never want anyone else to label our kids, WE do it. And when we do, we seem to be using those labels as our own (because we SO define ourselves by how we raise our kids - or how they turn out - which may or may not be related).

Angie said...

I sat in my counselor's office this week, sobbing over my own son's health concerns and telling him how guilty I felt. He looked at me and said, "You know guilt isn't a feeling, right?" I've been chewing on that one for a while...

I am so sorry your friend is struggling. Praying right now that she will be able to separate truth from feelings and know she's not guilty. This whole Mom Guilt is such a hard thing.

Thanks for the touch of nerdy in my day. :) I needed it.

Molly said...

She is not the first, nor is she the last parent to feel guilty over an autism dx. Does she have other autism moms to talk to? I have some great online resources if she's interested. Feel free to email me!!

I work at a special needs summer camp, so I know a TON of moms with kids all across the spectrum.

Kazzy said...

I work with kids on the spectrum, and I know it is so hard on the poor parents. I am sorry for your friend.

Guilt is my fuel more often than I would like to admit. Ugh...

Jenn said...

My heart goes out to this momma. Mother guilt can eat us alive sometimes.

家唐銘 said...

人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

Casey Freeland said...

All you can do is what you are doing. You are a good friend. If I could wash guilt from my love I would do it in a second. She can find self-blame in virtually any situation. Breaks my heart.

Casey

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

Do I feel guilty as a mother? And then some. But I think at every level that it is a waste.

It doesn't help my kid and it drains me. Plus it's rather self-centered, I've decided. Guilt takes away from what is and focuses the light on "How is this about me?" I don't mean to do it that way...but I think that's how my kids have understood guilt through the ages. I think. It feels a bit like that.

They like it better when I just accept what is. And then provide comfort. Peanut butter sandwiches when bellies are empty. Ice cream when we need a party and can't seem to muster one on our own.

When I look so hard for WHY (and believe me I'm the queen detective) my kids feel the loss. The loss of my attention to what IS.

They don't really care WHY when they're suffering. They don't really care if I screwed up. They just want me to be the best mom in this moment that I can.

And guilty thoughts screw with that.

So, for my kids sake, I'm trying to go on a fast from guilt. It's my most difficult fast yet. But worthy.

Blessings to your dear one. Glad she has you to help carry her burden.

FranticMommy said...

Wow. My nephew is autistic. I am not sure what is up with yourn friends little one, but there is hope and coping. ((HUGS)) to her.
(from a fellow Minnesota Mommy)

The Empress said...

Oh, I love Sara Groves. I saw her in concert here at our church. What a nice feeling to find her here. Yes, she has all sorts of inspirational music to set your perspective right. I feel for your friend....what can I say? We all adjust with time. It becomes a new life, is all.

sarah said...

mom guilt is the worst. I've wondered if it was the water i drank, the food I did or didn't eat. Maybe it was the vitamins, maybe it was because I threw up so many of those vitamins. Is it because I was a bad kid? a rebellious teenager? am I being punished? if I am the one being punished then why does my child need to suffer?
The judgement and comments from others is bad enough but we just pile it on ourselves. Sooner or later your friend will realize the guilt does nothing but hinder progress. A diagnosis will be awesome if she gets one but it will also not change as many things as she hopes it will. The situation and symptoms will most likely remain the same.
what she needs is you. You to be the very best friend you can possibly be to her. Don't let her shut you out or push you away. That's what I did and my friends couldn't understand my situation and just let "us" fall to the side. Meanwhile I was dying inside. Your friend cannot be the mom she needs to be unless she is strong. Right now, she needs you to be strong for her and hold her up. Good luck to both of you and hopefully you will soon get a diagnosis.

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