It’s approximately two weeks until everything changes for our family. Kiddo will be starting SEN school and quite frankly it’s a world away from mainstream that I never knew existed. I’ll talk about that in another blog, but today I’m feeling very reflective of our journey over the past 4 and a half years. It’s had challenges I never knew I had the strength to face, and has pushed me to mental and physical limits I didn’t know I was capable of. Sounds like someone talking about running a marathon doesn’t it? And actually, that’s how I feel right now. So exhausted I can barely stand because I have run the ultimate marathon (note: I’m sure my husband feels like this too, but I don’t want to speak on behalf of him here). And at this time where we are about to encounter a hugely significant change in how we live our lives, how we are perceived as a family and the support we will receive, I look back at the last few years and I think, wow. That was seriously tough. When you’re in it, it feels horrendous. But when you look back it somehow feels worse, because you have the time to contemplate what you went through. So if I had the chance, I would write a letter to myself before I became pregnant. And here is what I would say….
I know that right now all you can think of is having a baby. That switch has gone in your brain. It’s time to be a mum, and quite frankly you are driving your husband nuts. Back off, I promise you he wants children as well. You are worried that having a baby will be hard for you, seeing as the consultant told you your chances were 50% or less. You’ve cried over that and now you’re ready to prove them wrong. Little do you know that when you are 8 months pregnant and in hospital your obstetrician will look at your notes and tell you they were wrong and that there was never a problem. So maybe don’t buy that puppy you’re about to get when you go to the pub next week… or maybe, do. Because he is about to become fabulous company for your husband.
For you will fall pregnant very easily and boy will you know it. Turns out, your body doesn’t particularly like growing humans… Your pregnancy will be a lively one, but don’t worry, baby isn’t going anywhere. You will suffer physical pain like you have never known over the next 9 months, 3 of which you will spend as an inpatient in hospital. At one point you will forget what the outside world looks like. This time will be hard on you. Some really tough decisions are coming your way, and in a state unable to make them you will turn to your doctors for advice. And so you are given morphine and antidepressants in your pregnancy. Looking back, this could be the reason you are sat here now. But then again, you may not be sat here at all with a little cheeky chap grinning up at you because he wants to play on your phone. Whatever the consequence, the decision to take those medications saved your life. No one else will understand, and that’s ok. Moving on.
The birth will be traumatic, and I’m so sorry to tell you that. Your baby will suffer a minor head injury but he will be fine. He comes into this world quietly. And believe me that’s the last time he will be quiet!
Within two weeks you are admitted back into hospital, your child suffering from opiate withdrawal due to the morphine. You knew this was a possibility. And however hard the next few weeks are, you survive. You’ll be ok.
After this, motherhood begins and the next 11 months are pretty uneventful! Looking back now I see so many signs. Kiddo will be late to smile, late to crawl and late to walk. But the health visitors will brush it off. Don’t let them – you’re right! You know this isn’t how it is supposed to go. Trust your gut from day one.
The year between kiddos first and second birthday is going to be majorly tough. I can’t lie about that. You’ll hear the phrase “he’s just hard work” or “he’s a boisterous one isn’t he!” A LOT. Don’t brush that nagging voice in the back of your mind away. She’s right, she’s warning you.
Somehow you’ll survive until kiddos second birthday. But by then the signs will be too noticeable to ignore. You’ll still be brushed aside by the health visitors so you do something brave. You take him to the hospital and just let him run riot. It’ll be the best thing you ever do, and I’m so proud of you. Not many people know that when you came home after that day you threw up with anxiety and emotion at seeing your child so distressed. But you did it for him. And it’s the start of something major. Because for the first time ever, someone has mentioned the word “autism”. You were right.
The next two years are going to take strength you didn’t know you had. You will have to dig to depths of your soul you didn’t know were possible. And you really should take out shares in Cadburys because my God you’re going to eat a lot of chocolate!
If I could change one thing during this time, it would have been to hold my husband more. Hug him everyday. He is suffering with you. You need each other, you will save each other, and you don’t even know it.
The day you receive kiddos diagnosis you won’t cry. You are all cried out. You’ll think it’s over but there is one more fight. His education.
You’ll go into overdrive and find a way to fight for his education. And guess what? You will win.
As I write this I can feel the tiredness of the last 4 and a half years weighing so heavy on my shoulders. But pre mummy me, for the first time in years there is a very real light at the end of the tunnel. All of your fights will not be for nothing. There is a resolution waiting to be found. Never give up. Your family will not break, it’s far too strong. Have faith and don’t let go. Because you will get there.
Extremely tired Mummy Me xxx
Thanks for reading,