Yesterday I was invited to attend a lunch with five mums, all who are going through different stages of ‘challenge’ in raising a child. Four of the mums have children with the diagnosis of Asperger’s or Autism and one with four children - two who have challenges other than ASD.
It was an inspiring luncheon. Each mum sharing their story, each becoming emotional at some stage, but for the most part, all of us enjoying the laughter and camaraderie that comes from being with other people who just ‘get it!’
This ASD journey can be so isolating and sometimes very painful. So it is important to develop friendships with people who understand exactly what we are going through.
What I noticed at this lunch, was that each mother was coming to terms with the diagnosis, in a different way. But each was supportive of each others choice to focus on what ever their child needs right at this moment. (I did notice as well, how many times we could all finish each others’ sentences. Oh my goodness, how we have all traveled this same path!)
In the past, I have been involved in various support groups, often coming across parents, and in particular mothers,who became very competitive in the journey. “Yes, well that’s fine for you, but my situation is worse” or “Well, we tried that, and it didn’t work – are you sure that it will work for you?”. Nothing crushes your heart more than when you are strung out to the edge of your tether, not really knowing whether you have made the right decision or not, and then to be faced with the judgments of your peers!
We are all on this path together, and in amongst the isolation and challenge, the one thing we all need is a good, supportive group of friends who understand who we are; who understand when we just need to vent, or cry, or laugh or have an enormous glass of wine, that has no end.
As I left yesterday, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that each of these children will be fine, because they have mothers who are so willing to trust their intuition and their own inner wisdom. Mothers who acknowledge their own fragility, their own strengths; who know how to ask for help, and know when to trust their own inner guidance.
Our ASD children need nothing more in life than just that. Intuitive parents who are willing to discover and try new things, never once giving up on finding the solution that will help solve the next challenge or overcome the next hurdle. Wise mothers who know they are not miracle workers – just loving parents who will go to the ends of the earth (or just around the corner) to help their child develop the strategies they need to become confident, independent, self-actualized people who will make a difference in the world.
It was an inspiring two hours!