I was the Gloom and Doom Mom

Yesterday, I celebrated my eighth Mother’s Day.

I’m not sure how that is possible but I did the math and it is indeed right.

I have three boys. Each delightfully amazing in their own way.

Cooper is 8. He is the happiest boy you will ever meet. He has taught me more about life than anyone or anything else. He is my shadow. I am his person and he is mine.

I have Sawyer who is 6. He is incredible and pushes me to my limits daily. He is smart, athletic, and social. He asks me a million questions a day and wants to be an army man when he grows up.

And my baby Harbor. The one that brought us all together. He is everything I needed and wanted. He smiles and laughs all day long. He is content. He has the best hair of any child ever. And I can’t wait to see who he becomes.

Each of these kids has changed me, saved me and made me a mother in different ways.

I’m 36 now. And an entirely different person than I was at 28.

I’m a lot stronger now. More comfortable in my own skin. Not so afraid of everything.

Last night, on my eighth Mother’s Day, I spent some time looking back at my writing and I am shocked and proud at how honest I was.

I alternated between telling the truth, doubting myself, giving up, fear, and hope.

Sometimes, all at once.

And I have no regrets. Not one.

The first six years with Cooper were hard. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

And I’m not afraid to say it was hard. Not anymore.

I had some dark years. And I want to be clear, my son didn’t suffer. But I put myself through hell. I was consumed.

My son didn’t talk. He didn’t play. He didn’t sleep. Or eat. Or poop.

He wasn’t meeting milestones. His daycare all but kicked him out.

He was so anxious. All the time. 3 AM wake ups to 9 PM bedtimes. Up ten times a night.

So much crying. Pacing. Demanding. Yelling. Screaming.

He only watched Thomas the Train and Barney. He wouldn’t go outside. He wouldn’t ride in the car.

We couldn’t help him. And we couldn’t figure out what he needed.

He got the diagnosis of autism at age 3. I knew from day one so it wasn’t a surprise. But I also want you to know that I knew nothing about it either. And what I found on the internet was so confusing.

Genius kids. Math, piano, calendars. Trains. Funny kids. Quirky kids. Special schools. Sad images of kids rocking in corners. Flapping. Hitting.

The fear set in instantly. But I vowed to help my son. I would do whatever it took. Even if it meant losing myself entirely.

I’d try and reach him. I’d do everything humanly possibly to get him to take part in our world.

And I failed. Every time. And with each new tactic, a renewed hope, only to fail harder than the time before.

I was manic. I was exhausted. I was probably a little depressed.

Around age 5, he started regressing what few skills he had. Therapies weren’t working. Kindergarten wasn’t either.

A social worker told me that Cooper had one of the most severe cases of autism he had ever seen.

That was my low point. I was getting kicked and hit. I wasn’t sleeping. Bed stripping. Hoarding. OCD. Eloping. We couldn’t leave the house. My other son was growing up and I felt like I was missing it.

I was gloom and doom. I know it.

I had failed. And I shared it with you all.

And it saved me. That’s the ironic part.

Talking about how hard it was changed me. Because I found you all. I found people that were living my life.

I wasn’t alone anymore.

On Cooper’s fourth Mother’s Day I spent the day sobbing. And not because he didn’t make me a card or a macaroni necklace. But because I spent the day trying to get him to stack one block with me. And he refused.

On his sixth Mother’s Day I had to leave my own mother’s house in the middle of dinner because Cooper was melting down. I had to drive home with one hand, the other one behind my back, holding his legs from kicking his brother. I spent hours that night holding his flailing body in a bear hug, trying to keep him from self-injuring.

But things change. They improve. They get better. They get worse. We get stronger. We may even go a little numb.

Yesterday, on my eighth Mother’s Day, my son said ‘M-O-M’ 75 times to show me 75 trains. He hit his first baseball off a tee. He ‘rode’ a bike up and down the driveway. He dressed himself. He asked me for a pair of socks.

He sat with us during dinner. I watched him eat an ice cream cone with his Grandma. He went for a four-wheeler ride with his Grandpa.

I nursed my baby. I watched Sawyer play baseball. I went for a walk with my family.

Yesterday was everything I had ever dreamed a Mother’s Day could be.

As for the gloom and doom mom that I used to be…she’s gone for now. But I’ll never forget her. Or how truly hard it was for so many years.

She talked about how hard it was because it was hard.

And good God I am thankful every single day for my son, my family, and how we never gave up.

It makes the successes so much sweeter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


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