Motherhood isn’t easy… but it is definitely worth every second of it. And not all Mamas experience it the same way either. One of my reasonings for starting a blog is to help Mamas be more aware of each other. And what better way to do that than with Mom Interviews!
April is National Autism Awareness Month which is almost over. So I asked a good friend of mine if she would be my first Interview. And she said yes! I was so thrilled because she is an awesome Mama and has a story that needs to be heard!
Melissa literally opens her heart about raising a child with autism and you can feel the love and emotions in her words, so you might need to grab a tissue. I know I did!
Tell us a little about yourself and your family?
“I am a mom who has pretty much been going at this alone from the beginning. I have two beautiful sons, a 4 year old named Luca who is autistic and a 1 year old named Noah. For the most part we are like most families. We enjoy going to the water park and bounce houses. Doing lots of arts and crafts and we LOVE music in our house! Dancing and singing is the best medicine.”
How would you describe Autism to another mom?
“Autism is a social disorder. It makes it hard for him to adapt to situations that involve other people. Unfortunately with Autism comes a world of other complications. Like developmental delays, sensory processing disorder and GI problems.
I started noticing things such as delays in his development and emotional outbursts like head banging and hitting himself at 10 months. He was also dealing with a world of GI problems that couldn’t be explained. His specialist ran multiple tests to figure out why he was having so many difficulties going to the bathroom, but each test came back fine. That is when he said we needed to look at the possibility that it was a mental thing preventing him from going potty. That mixed with the other problems, he was referred to a Neurologist and was diagnosed with autism. It was heartbreaking at first for me. I was scared of the what his future would hold. Would he ever talk? Would he be able to take care of himself? Would he ever make friends? There were so many questions that filled my mind. I remember sitting up night after night crying, unsure if I was strong enough to be able to raise him and take care of him the way he needed. It was all trial and error. I was a first time mom and I had never been around a child with autism before. We were lucky to have a great support system between doctors and my family that got us through it. We established schedules that worked for us, with that and his therapy he has come a long way in the last 3 years. There are still a lot of questions about his future, but I am much more confident that we can face whatever challenges may be ahead.”
What does your typical day look like?
“Typical days Mon-Fri is lots of Therapies. ABA, speech and Occupational. He gets 2 hours of ABA 3 times a week and has Speech and Occupational 2 times. It’s all a balancing act. Trying to help Luca through all of his work and meltdowns, while trying to help Noah develop. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner most days are a fight and up being a Pb&j sandwich at the current moment. Luca finds it very difficult to try new foods due to not liking certain textures. Noah will eat about anything you put in front of him, so I basically make three different meals at a time. Consistency and schedules are your best friend. The slightest change can cause complete meltdowns. Weekends are our time to have fun. We like to frequent places like Glazers Children’s museum, Adventure Island and Gator Fred’s. They help with learning as well as give him exposure to larger groups of people he tends to shy away from. Some days are absolutely wonderful and both kids are happy and you would never know that Luca is different. Then there are days where it is one meltdown after another, nothing I do seems to be right and I feel like the worst mother in earth. Those days I usually end the night crying with a beer or glass of wine, unsure if I can handle anymore, but I always fight through and keep on going.”
What do you wish other moms knew?
“I wish other mom’s knew that just because my son is autistic that it doesn’t mean he is bad or slow. He is actually extremely smart and wants nothing more than to be included in things just like other children. Though it may be hard for him to understand some social situations, he loves getting the chance to play with others. Most moms and people in general hear the word autism and assume that he can’t or won’t be able to participate, so he is excluded from things that most children his age get to do. It is heart breaking as a mother to watch the way other kids treat him, simply because he is different and does not speak or play the same way they do.”
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story! Not with just me, but with everyone who reads it! You don’t even know how much your words are going to help a fellow Mama. Whether she’s just starting her journey or if she’s been living it for years. Just hearing another moms perspective is all it takes to help hold us up and keep us strong! So thank you! And you keep being the super mom that you are!
If Melissa’s words touched your heart comment and let her know! And if you want to be updated when my next Mom interview goes live just scroll down to subscribe.
Until next time XO!