I grew up in a small family. I have one sister and a few cousins that were much older than me. I wasn’t around babies until I started babysitting. I did that only long enough to get my first real, tax-paying job at the tender age of 15.
I always knew I would be a mother. I am by nature a nurturer. I love to take care of others.
So, becoming a mother was an exciting, but at the same time, scary thing. I knew it would be hard, that part didn’t surprise me. What threw me for a loop was just how hard having a child with special needs would be. There was another problem. . . I didn’t know I had a child with special needs.
He was perfect! He was actually the perfect average weight and length of a newborn, despite arriving three weeks early. My son was alert and beautiful.
Those first few weeks of having a newborn are amazingly precious and amazingly exhausting. I will never again complain about being tired. There is nothing that compares to a mama who is up every 90 minutes nursing her newborn for weeks.
Was that normal? I don’t know. I had no point of reference. He was my first and I had no way to know because again, I did not grow up around babies.
Then, in a few weeks came the constant crying in the evening. Unconsolable crying. Was he uncomfortable? Wet? Hungry? Did he need to be rocked, bundled up tighter? You learn your baby’s cues along the way, but these were different cries.
Oh, he just vomited halfway across the room? What? Apparently, it’s called projectile vomiting. Is that normal?
We endured this for weeks and weeks. Finally, the pediatrician suggested a GI Scan. He had acid reflux. My baby had acid reflux. I had never heard of such a thing. Although, sadly, today it seems more common.
He was on acid-reducing medication for a few weeks and then was weaned off. He seemed just a little bit better.
Then I went back to work full-time. Which I did NOT want to do. I wished I had been in a place to stay home with him. He needed me, even more than I knew back then. But not yet, we weren’t financially ready for that yet.
Was it normal for my child to fall asleep on the way home every evening after I picked him up from getting off work? Yes, he had had a really long day, just like myself. That’s what I thought it was anyway. Then later in the evening, he had trouble winding down at night. I needed to get to bed and get some sleep.
When I finally got him put to bed, he would be up for the day at 3 a.m. or earlier. Yes, that’s not unusual for babies, but when that goes on for 4 years, is that normal?
I went to work, tried to function normally, pulled it off somehow, but no-one knew the struggle. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t entirely normal. He was my first. How was I to know?
This is just the tip of the iceberg of my journey. Learning my kids were more than likely on the spectrum somewhere. They all have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), not to mention food allergies and intolerances, heavy metal toxicity, yeast overgrowth, genetic variations that have interfered with their bodies being able to detox properly.
My firstborn was very sick by the time we started putting the pieces together of HIS puzzle.
He was a very, very sick child. I am just thankful we were led down the path to finding root causes. I was tired of doctors trying the band-aid approach which just made him sicker.
Today, I can say it was a blessing in disguise. We are all now, much, much healthier. In fact, you wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for my kids, my firstborn. He is what led our family down the path to natural health and healing. We are so thankful for him and our new direction.
So, to all you mamas and dads out there who grew up in large families or had lots of family around, I definitely envy you. Parenting to some degree comes naturally, but having experience and a frame of reference for what’s “normal” is a real gift. I could have started putting pieces of HIS puzzle together earlier.
Read more about how I care for my children on my blog www.essentiallyapril.com.