Dear Parents, You Are Human
Parenting is no easy feat. It’s messy, unpredictable and at times exhausting. Throw in Autism and a couple co-existing conditions into the mix, chaos is inevitable. No one quite understands the long sleepless nights, the random spouts of aggression, witnessing your child struggle daily, the endless list of appointments and therapies, or the fear you carry daily about your child’s future. The weight of all the hard questions with no concrete answers, can leave you feeling drained or even angry. It’s okay to admit that Autism is hard and you feel you are at your wits end.
None of these feeling in any way over shadow your love for your child. You are still a good parent. You are allowed to have bad days where you just want to curl up in bed and cry. You’re allowed to feel a vast array of feelings without guilt. There’s nothing easy about Autism, for your child or for you. Ignore the sugar coated social media posts, and remember these people are only choosing to show the positive aspects of their lives.
No one’s life is perfect, and no one has it all figured out. We are all just doing the best that we can, and praying for a good outcome.
A lot parents carry guilt for harboring feelings of sadness or anger in regards to Autism. As if you’re not allowed to feel drained after a meltdown, or you shouldn’t be upset when your day turns sour due to a sensory overload, or you that you don’t need time to decompress yourself. None of this true, you’re allowed to feel. You can still be a loving parent and feel sad about the tough stuff, because after all you are human.
Take your pain, and your overwhelming sadness at the moment and face it. It’s okay to be mad or even angry, but don't dwell on it too long. Recognizing your emotions isn’t the problem. It’s what you do with your feelings and how you express them that matters.
Darkness tends to spread rapidly inside us at our most vaunrerable moments, causing us to sometimes get stuck in the dark.
Acknowledge it, wallow in it as long as you need to, and then leave it behind. There is no heavier weight to carry than anger, resentment, and sadness. It will weigh you down, and wear you out, until there is nothing left. And honestly I’ve felt that way myself more than once. It’s not an easy hill to climb, and takes time to come back from, but it’s not impossible. A great parent never gives up, even when faced with the seemingly impossible. Accept your feelings for what they are and then move on. Work through what you’re feeling whether that be through talking with a friend or counselor, or just writing down how you’re feeling at the moment. Don’t just leave it to settle and fester within you. Don’t get left in the dark. And most importantly don’t miss out on the amazing child in front of you because you’re too busy being mad about something you have zero control over.