Moms, You are Good Enough

I never realized how much I wanted to be a mother until I was told I couldn’t.  Until I was told my body would fail me.

My body wasn’t, “good enough” to do what a woman’s body was, “supposed to.”

I never knew how much I wanted to be a mom until that honor was taken away from me. After 2 ½ beautiful months he left our home returning to his teenager mother who changed her mind.

One final signature, one last document, a teenage mother’s changed mind, and my days of motherhood end in two short hours.  As his nursery door closed filled with dreams of the future, my heart broke, and my hope was placed on deferment.

I never expected my son to hold on as I clung to the hope against all hope that he would survive the ninth months of pregnancy, defeating the odds of; “you will never carry this baby to full-term.”

When he was born at 36 weeks beautiful, full of life, and mine; I appreciated a new meaning of motherhood.

However, I never knew how much I was meant to be a mother until I helped my son fight for his life at 5 ½ months after being shaken by his daycare provider.

I never knew how much I was designed to be a mother until advocating for my sons became an everyday occurrence for me.

Becoming a mother to a beautiful bonus daughter and later to two boys of autism; one with severe autism and the other with a traumatic brain injury, followed by autism.

My life of motherhood was definitely not what I had on my senior vision board. Motherhood is never what we think it will be.

It takes us on twists and journey’s unimaginable.  It can be beautiful at times and it can consist of tiny little heartbreaks all at that same moment.

And for the autism mom, this really isn’t the dream of motherhood you expected.

Instead of little leagues and Legos, it’s melt-downs and broken lamps, elopement and sleepless nights vs. sleep overs and mountain bikes.

You might not be the soccer mom you envisioned but you still are loved.  This is not what you vision but it is your reality.

Being a mother is hard, I don’t care who you are. I want to first acknowledge that.

Being a mother to children with autism is a completely different experience that’s hard for others to understand.

Just like everyone you have dreams for your children, plans of how life will go.  You’re given this beautiful baby and you are going to do everything just right.

You read the baby books, take all the advice, follow the schedule, and do exactly what they told you at the baby classes.

At first you don’t realize anything is different because you have nothing to compare to.  But then you start to see that your friends’ babies are doing things that your baby is not.

“Well, maybe he is just not interested in crawling yet, he’s just a shy baby, or it’s just going to take more time.”

I think this is our way of protecting ourselves from what we already know yet we just aren’t ready to face the reality.  We are not ready to hear that our child is 1 of the 59 children diagnosed with autism.

Then you experience that first Mother’s Day after receiving the diagnosis.  Your world is still spinning wildly around you.

You are still trying to keep your head above the sinking waters as you desperately try to find one piece of normalcy to cling on to.  To celebrate Mother’s Day seems insane.

What is there to celebrate about today, when you are still experiencing so much heartache?

Then you see it, your friend receiving their cute handmade gifts. You are still exhausted from the sleepless night you had before, praying that today will be a better day.

It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, they don’t care, they don’t recognize that it say’s Mother’s Day.

To them it is just a day, another day where the world doesn’t make sense to them.  A day where they need constant help, continual supervision, and everything MUST be centered around them.

You know they love you, but you will not hear those words today and the harsh truth is you may never hear those words uttered to you.  Some may hear the word mom, but many will not.

For most of us, today we will not get out of our PJ’s. We will also not go out to one of the many area restaurants with our family/children offering Mother’s Day brunch.

Let’s be honest, what restaurant wants eggs benedict flung across their dining room? And who wants the stress that goes along with that trip either?

So, we settle in for the day.  We might enjoy a lovely walk, which may or may not result in a meltdown in the middle of the street.

An outing to McDonalds for chicken nuggets I’m sure will be on our agenda, I will most like get a Mcflurry.

Our staff person will accompany us for the day, because it is not safe for me to be alone with Urijah; however, we will make the most of our Sunday, May 12th.

Mother’s Day?  Like most holidays, to me it is just another day on the calendar.  They don’t mean that much to me anymore.

I choose to celebrate moments; Quentin riding his new scooter, Urijah sleeping through the night, Kaylee making it through the first year at her University.  Those are my holidays.

Those are the things I choose to celebrate.  Not some day on a calendar that tells me I should celebrate today.

Mother’s Day is hard for so many.  Several women yearn for the dream of motherhood; however, many are robbed of that dream.

Some women’s bodies rob them of that joy. Some have heavenly babies that never opened their eyes on earth.  Some experience failed adoption, or foster a child giving love for as long as they have the chance.

Some have babies for a short time, and some are blessed for a longer period of time only to have to bury them before the natural progression of life.

I truly believe you do not have to “birth” or even have a child to be a mom or be a mom to a child.  There are nurturing woman in this world who are amazing, loving, and have gift beyond measure.  However, for some reason she cannot have children of her own.

Whether you are a mom or never had a chance to be a mom. Mother’s Day causes pain, not just for moms with children on the spectrum but for women in general.

So, on Sunday, May 12, I honored all women, because you are all special.  In some way you have or will nature, shape, or influence a child’s life.

We hype up this day, Mother’s Day. Very similar to that of New Year’s Eve.

We want a do over. A chance to start over. A fresh start. With Mother’s Day, we want to feel special.

We want someone to tell us that we are doing this mommy thing right. That we are amazing. That we are good moms. We want validation!

We want to know that our bodies did what society said they were supposed to do. We want to hear that we are following what the pages in the parenting books said made good moms.

We want the affirmations, we want the acknowledgments, and we want to know that we didn’t let anyone down. But I think mainly we want to know that we didn’t fail.

As a mother, as a woman, we feel judge every day and on Mother’s Day (for just one day) we want to feel different!

We want to know that maybe, just maybe we got it right. We did a good job in a position that is difficult every day. We know that every single day we show up giving our best, regardless of our current circumstances.

We don’t give up because we can’t, but sometimes even then we don’t feel it’s good enough.

So today, the day after Mother’s Day, moms, autism moms, women in general; You Are Good Enough!

You are amazing and you make a difference.

Enjoy you today, no matter what you do. Happy Women’s (Mother’s) Day to all Women.

Here’s to celebrating you and all you do!

Motherhood is hard but I am grateful for all those I have been blessed to ‘mother’, especially the three that call me mom; even if I don’t hear it.

I love you Kaylee, Quentin and Urijah. You make me better every day.

Written by, Christina Maulsby

From the author: My name is Christina Maulsby. After the past year of two failed inpatients and one intensive outpatient my son is in an Institute intensive inpatient unit in Baltimore. He was having approximately 400 self injurious behaviors a day and 25-30 aggressions towards others daily. He has been in Baltimore since September. He lives in Iowa. It’s been an overwhelming experience, filled with both gratitude and deep sadness. Writing is the only way I have found to cope with all the feelings I am experiencing. Follow our journey on Facebook at Talking for Two.

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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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