So here I am again in yet another doctor’s waiting room. It’s windowless, with worn carpet and old crinkled magazines from 2012. It feels like I’ve been living in waiting rooms like this one for years now, ever since we decided that something was wrong with Billy and needed to find out what it was.
The doctor has been working with my child for the last 40 minutes, ‘testing’ him, they call it. My husband says that nothing is wrong with him and that I am wasting my time. Maybe he is right? I am getting antsy. I wonder if my child is doing okay, if they’re kind, if they are not embarrassing him, if they remember to give him a snack because we watch his blood sugar. I wonder if anything he says reflects badly on me as a parent, are they judging me?
I remember, with a wince, how I yelled at Billy last night before going to bed, but only because it had been such a long stressful day and instead of getting quieter, Billy was revving up this engine becoming increasingly more manic and I knew how badly he needed his sleep before meeting the doctor today. I know we get angry with him so often but only because it’s so frustrating! I hope the doctor won’t draw conclusions based on how Billy looks today, he is more tired than usual, maybe he is getting sick.
Wow, it’s been such a stressful winter already! I’m so glad vacation is over, Billy couldn’t handle the lack of structure and our house was a wreck. The stress of finding activities that Billy could cope with (not too much overstimulation, maybe some physical activity, keep him involved, forget about being invited over for a play date, that wasn’t gonna happen, keep him off of video games for at least an hour or two a day, whining, tantrums all from being bored and feeling shut in) and now back to the daily grind of school in a overcrowded class with a teacher that I know hates my kid even though she won’t admit it. Evenings are the worst because I have to micromanage everything he does, when he lets me. … Homework is a nightmare for both of us; why can’t he put together one sentence in under an hour or bribing, cajoling and enduring his sobbing. The sobbing is the worst. Because I know how much he is suffering from whatever he has, lord knows what it is but that’s what we are here to find out. I hope, whatever it is, they don’t blame me. I am already so depressed, I couldn’t handle more blame.
Or maybe it is my fault, I really try but maybe I wasn’t careful enough when I was pregnant. Or maybe I went back to work too soon. I know I could have done better. Ok I will try. From now on, I will be the perfect mother for Billy. Maybe I will try that new diet for Billy that everyone is talking about. Or maybe I will try that new Neuronic program in the news. Please Lord, let him be ok.
Sound familiar? The stress, the waiting room, the unknowing, the self blame? Welcome to the mind of a parent with atypical children. “Atypical” could include a child with any type of visible or invisible disability. From a physical handicap to an invisible learning disability, autism or ADHD. Or sometimes a child can be quirky, difficult, different or sickly without any specific diagnosis. That might be even harder. To be a parent with a child with a difference means that you have a difference too. Denial, anger, depression, bargaining, these are all normal parental reactions to working through your feelings as you parent a special needs child. You are not alone. You are a soldier, a unsung hero, and a leader to your family. Please remember to be kind to yourself. And…..no one is judging you, at least no one who understands.