Hi, all! I'm LeMira, and Natalie asked me to contribute to this blog. So, here is my first post, and you'll get to know more about me and my son as I write more.
Last night I had a talk with a friend who teaches children with special needs at a school just for them. When I learned this, I opened up about my concerns with my six year old son, Jackson. You see, I am getting him tested for PDD-NOS in the next two months. In our conversation last night, my friend Janet mentioned that it's okay to grieve over what you you thought you were going to have but aren't. (Does that make sense?) So many times we associate grief with death or a loss that we could touch, but grief goes deeper. Grief is natural. Grief is okay. Grief is necessary.
Grief is natural. Grief comes with any loss, even if it's the loss of that dream you had, that vision of having children with no special health care needs. Most moms had a time in their lives when they were little girls and dreamed of being a mommy. We held our dolls, sang to them, fed them, and changed their diapers. We played "House" with our siblings and friends - taking turns being the parents and the kids. When we were pregnant, we talked about the dreams we had for our kids. We thought about that first day of school, and what their lives would be like. We had dreams and visions. Those dreams and visions have had to change. Perhaps they can still be, but we will get there via a different path than we had planned, and it hurts. It's normal. We grieve over the other path, the one less rocky (yeah, that one that you see cleeeeeeaaar over there).
Grief is okay. Don't beat yourself up for missing that other path. It doesn't mean that you don't love your kids. It doesn't mean that you aren't grateful for the blessings in your life. It doesn't mean that you would change it, but sometimes it just hurts.
Grief is necessary. The only way to move ahead on this path is to grieve over the path you didn't get first. Let it run its course - shock & denial, guilt&pain, anger & bargaining, depression/reflection/loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, acceptance and hope (see this link for more information). Where are you in your stage of grief right now? Think about it. When you first knew that something would be different with your child, how did you feel?
Did you deny it? (I was in denial for much longer than I care to admit.)
Did you blame yourself (guilt/pain)?
Were you angry at the therapist or school teacher who informed you, or did you tell yourself that you could change it if you just did such and such (anger/bargaining)?
Did you fall into depression because you didn't know what to do; did you feel alone, like no one understands or that it's you alone bearing this burden?
Did you find resources to help you?
Are you learning to work through it all?
Have you accepted it?
There is no timeline in grief. It is different for everyone, and it's possible to move through the stages at different rates, in a different order, and repetitively. I can tell you that I've gone through several stages multiple times. For example, I've accepted some things, but I'm still depressed about others. I personally believe that if you don't allow yourself to grieve, and you skip right to acceptance or you get stuck in denial, you will eventually get stuck in depression, and you could possibly go wacko. Tell yourself that your feelings are normal and natural. Then, you will move on when you are ready and start rebuilding your life for the way it can be, not the way you thought it was going to be.