I have thrown around the idea of writing a blog for some years and have been encouraged by friends to give it a go and for obvious reasons never actually made my writing public.
It's one thing being honest with yourself about your feelings but very different exposing your soul to anyone who clicks on the link. When I first started a couple of years ago I bounced around from feeling a sense of therapy by writing my experiences but also quite drained and it stopped. What I wanted to do was be able to look back on the difficult times and think "Yes it was hard then but I got through it" but unfortunately I don't think I was in the right place mentally at that time to be able to follow it through.
So now, here I go again and I suppose ultimately and selfishly I wanted to feel I have gained something from my ramblings but equally if I can help others in similar situations that would be fantastic. Some of what has already been written was done with tears and some with laughter and hopefully you will see the rollercoaster life that we lead in living with autism.
Before I can discuss the present, I need to discuss the past and the course of events that brought us up to this point. I regret that I hadn't had the strength to write about Joseph from the start as I am sure that the depth of feelings felt at the time would be recounted so much better had I not waited so long.
Joseph was a much longed for child. They always say you shouldn't wait to have a child until you can afford one, otherwise you never will. But we did wait. We wanted to provide a stable financial start for our young offspring. My ex-husband had come from a big family and always said he didn't want the same size family. He didn't want us to scrimp and save and said one child would 'satisfy his curiosity'. I on the other hand, couldn't see myself with just the one child but was under no illusions as to how difficult raising a child would be so was happy to see how we went with a first.
I tried to do everything the right way, taking the recommended vitamins and folic acid before trying to conceive and was reasonably fit and exercising on a regular basis. I had a relatively easy pregnancy and as far as I was concerned it was all a case of mind over matter.
I now know that isn't always the case and Joseph came into this world approximately 4 weeks early. At 10:17 on Wednesday 19th March, Joseph made his entry into this world weighing 7lb 1oz. I looked at him and didn't actually believe he was mine. I wondered when I would feel an overwhelming amount of love for the small screwed up bundle that they handed me. He had very dark hair like his Dad and a big red mark across his nose. That was my first impressions of him. Labour didn't go how I expected and the days, weeks and months that followed didn't get any easier. Although Joseph was born 'healthy' we spent much of our time at the GP practice or hospital, seeing to his blocked tear duct and his reflux.
I should have actually written a blog on reflux (in addition to sleep deprivation!) as it dominated our lives for 18 months and as such, Joseph was never an easy child to settle to say the least. So at the time we were given his diagnosis (aged 3 years and 8 months) I felt like my whole world had been blown apart. I am sure I am not the only one who made plans for their unborn children. Would they be athletics superstars? Doctors? Teachers? And here it was - with one label someone removed my hopes and ambitions for my small child.
Photo by Tina Medlock
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