I Broke: I'll Never Forgive Myself for Hitting My Autistic Son
We need help. We need respite. And in cases like mine, we need therapy and good antidepressants. We need to be able to talk about the reality that we are faced with. We need to not be judged any more than any other parent when we have crappy days and say we hate motherhood. We are regular parents in irregular situations. We need to do this OUR WAY and not be judged for doing/not doing what other parents of kids with the same diagnoses are doing. We need acceptance of not only our children, but of us, the parents.
There's a tendency within some special needs groups to make the picture of raising a child with special needs much rosier than it is. I'm not saying that it's not SO GOOD. It is. But it also can be SO HARD. I have promised to be honest about the good and bad in this blog, not just for you readers, but for me. This is why I'm telling you this. Admitting I hit Casey is super hard. I'm afraid of the judgment. I'm afraid of hearing, "Well, I'd never get to that point!" I never thought I would, either. But if we can't talk about the hard parts, we aren't giving others the permission to do the same. And we need to be able to talk about it.
And I'm not saying it needs to be done in a public forum, either. I am saying is that if you are having a tough time you NEED to talk about it. You NEED to seek help. Go online, go to a therapist, send me an email. Just talk about it. Get it out so you can deal with it and move on. There's nothing worse than letting it build inside.
There is nothing that justifies hurting your child. Let me make this clear. There is no pain or exhaustion or stress that can should ever amount to what I did. And I can assure you, the ramifications in my own life are still ongoing. I have not yet come to a place where my insides don't want to fall out at just the thought of that day. I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for it, and I'm pretty sure that is just. I need to remember.
I wish I had better answers for moms looking for help outside of just talking about it. I spoke to a couple of other friends who also have children with autism today about this very thing. Having a support system, at home and online is fantastic. There are great communities online, Circle of Moms was mentioned and I myself have frequented the Babycenter Autism and Down Syndrome boards. Outside of the online world though, where does one go to get help? In your area, do you have programs for respite? How do you get them? How can we enable access to parents from all over?
I'd love to hear where you are from and where you have gone to get services. I'd also love to be able to put together a guide for respite services and providers from across the country. If you know of one that is already in existence, let me know!
What do you do for yourself? Are there parent support groups in your area? Have they been helpful?