I don’t remember much the months after we were officially diagnosed. It was just too surreal. I talk about this time often. I remember those months after the diagnosis like it was a dream. Too foggy of a memory.
During that time, I would do a lot of research about autism. There is a thing about too much information. Information Overload.
I remember googling autism services in our city and calling all numbers to see what services they offered, to see if they accepted our insurance, etc. I just needed something. Anything. Everything.
One of the calls that I made was to a physical therapy company and I left a message. A few days later I received a call back from Dr. Manning.
She explained to me the services that she offered. The best things were that she 1) accepted our insurance, 2) she did home visits, and 3) she worked weekends. Since both my husband and I have full time jobs, weekends was exactly what we needed.
She had an opening on Sundays from 12 to 1. Perfect.
The first visit was rough. Our monkey wasn’t doing good. She just hugged him and he was fighting her. Describing this as a ‘bad’ one is an understatement. She hugged him for the entire session. She struggled. A lot. She gave him that deep pressure hug that he needed. He cried and fought. I think that first visit was harder on me than on the monkey. All I wanted to do was take him upstairs and soothe him. But I didn’t. I just watched as my monkey screamed and cried for over an hour… And then he just hugged her and kissed her.
I remember seeing him that entire week how great he did. He needed the release and he did amazing.
Dr. Manning taught us about over stimulation, deep pressure, high sensory disorder, etc. She brought a spinner for him. This spinner helps him when he is over stimulated.
But she has done more than just help us with our monkey. She is our go to person. When we have questions, concerns, need advice, she is always there. She has been our angel in disguise. She is amazing.
A few months after we started seeing her, as we were adjusting into our new ‘normal’, the monkey had an accident during one of the sessions. My husband took him upstairs to change him. While we were waiting, she casually asks me, “And how are you doing?”
I told her I was doing fine. Everything was great.
She then asked me, “How are you doing since the diagnosis?”
I told her about my husband. He has always taken such a great approach to this when it comes to our monkey. He always says how we tried for years to have more kids. How the monkey is finally here, and he is perfect. My husband sees life in such a great way.
I told her how I didn’t. How I struggled with the “Why us?” and the “It’s not fair.” phases. And how I hated myself for this. How I wish I could be like my husband. How I wish I could have a better outlook at this. And how I felt I am cheating the monkey and not being the mom that he needs.
And she said, “It’s okay to grieve.
It’s okay to grieve the child that you will not have. It is okay to cry and be angry and sad.
It’s okay to question the Why.”
She then said, “You deserve to grieve. Don’t cheat yourself out of this.
But (there is always a but) you need to come back. Cry all you want, scream all you want, but come back. Be the mom that he needs. Take care of yourself first, and then come back.”
And that was my epiphany.
She gave me the okay.
I needed that green light.
She took away my guilt.
She let me grieve.
And because of this, I am a better person. A better mom. I have pretty bad days and some great days. And I have learned to take the good days and appreciate those and treasure those. For when the bad ones come, I know that it is temporary.
This week’s therapy session, we talked about this past week. How the monkey ignored the kids at from the play area at the mall. And how that just sucked.
Her response was, “You see how when we call him over he comes and sits down with us? How he would run to the corner and want to stay there a few years ago and now he joins us? He’s learning to put on his own clothes and learning how to zip up his own jacket?”
Yeah, he will get there. We will get there.
Her subtle ways always makes me see things from a different perspective.
We will be okay.
Specially since we have her in our team.