There are so many things that we as moms endure that are hard. So damn hard. And yet, we still show up every day doing the best we can for our kids.
When my kiddo was born, I knew right out the gate that something was different about her. I had her sent to nursery the first night so I could have some sleep after 27 hours of labor that ended up in a horrible c-section. In the morning when they brought her in they said all she did all night was cry. She never slept. I was perplexed at the idea that a just born baby didn’t sleep for 6 hours, yet there was nothing medically wrong. When we got home, it was very much the same. She never slept. And the advice started to come from all directions that maybe she had acid reflux, maybe it was a milk intolerance, maybe she had gas, and the list went on and on. I knew that those were not the issues.
From six months to a year she would not nap. She had to be in the car or you had to hold her the whole time. Even if it wasn’t nap time and you set her down she screamed murder. Now most people just said that I should snuggle her more or sleep train her. That wasn’t it, there was something more to it.
She was never happy, she was never content. I didn’t take her into a store until she was 18 months old because all she did was scream. She screamed constantly and never slept. She was up at 3 am every day and gave up naps completely so she was in bed by 6 pm. Most nights we were so exhausted after working all day we went to bed at 7 pm. People in our families and friends had a hard time understanding this; we valued sleep and this was the time that we needed to sleep so we went to bed when the sun was shining and woke up in the middle of the night.
Also she was very particular about toys. She was very repetitive with the same toys. Same activities over and over. She didn’t really start talking until she was 2 1/2 and at the same time also decided to potty train herself. She didn’t really follow directions well. She got easily confused She was very smart and academically had her colors and shapes all memorized. No form of consequence affected her when it came to discipline. She was always hitting and for a while biting. But she still didn’t sleep. We were managing well enough at home but our friends and families couldn’t understand that we were not going out or attending events because her bedtime was 6 pm and I wasn’t going to deal with the shit the next day after having to get up at 3 am. Nope.
Preschool age was a nightmare. She didn’t sleep for 8 months. I almost had a nervous breakdown. She never napped. She was volatile; hitting, slapping, biting, damaging objects. She was never happy. I took her to doctors and they just kept saying it was a phase. That there was nothing I could do all the while I knew that it was not a phase.
Now we are here today. After years of everything we have finally got an answer. She has autism.
We are seeing therapists, we are getting on the list for the best OT in our area, we are also going to do a school of choice for her to go to a school with teachers that are trained and educated more in the autism arena. But it took me 8 years for someone to listen to me and to be taken seriously that something was different. That she wasn’t like the rest. There are still many things that her and I have to work through, independently and together, but we have the resources to help us and for that I am thankful. Here is my take away and gift to speak: Mamas, always trust your instinct.
I had a friend (who is no longer a friend) who always told me that I should ignore my daughter. Let her cry it out. That she was manipulating me. That she was just being a kid and I needed to stop being so dramatic. Then one day, randomly, she told me that the reason that she couldn’t be my friend was because I didn’t give her time. I wouldn’t go out with her or come over because we went to bed too early. She then said that she couldn’t handle how out of it I was. I never realized it until now that I was so happy that I NEVER listened to her advice or anyone else’s. That I listened to what MY family needed. That I fought to find a way to help all of us to get through this journey. This “friend” doesn’t know that my kiddo was diagnosed with autism. But boy oh boy does she look like an ass for all that shit she said. Mamas, don’t ever let someone try to tell you that you are crazy or don’t know what you are talking about. Or that there is nothing wrong. You know those babies best. You know. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you don’t.
*April is autism awareness month