A Blog by Matthew’s Mum …
New babies, and being on maternity leave, can be a hard and lonely place for a new mum (well, it was for me). I think about how I used to take James (my first child) to playgroups and friends’ houses, and be out and about all the time because it was the only way I could keep my sanity. James would crawl or run around and play, while I had a cup of tea and some adult conversation.
With Matthew, it was totally different. I found it upsetting to be around children the same age, or younger, who were much more developed than he was. I was scared of other mums I didn’t know asking me questions about how old he was, or what was wrong with him. At the time, I couldn’t help but compare him to the other children, and it was so hard being reminded of how little Matthew was doing.
At home it was better – we were just us, a family of four. Behind our own walls he was just my little boy, Matthew, but as soon as we went out we were reminded that he was different.
I am used to it now (mostly). I no longer get upset when I’m with children years younger than Matthew who are walking and talking, and he’s not. He is who he is, and I don’t love the other children, I love my Matthew just the way he is.
BUT … now I have a new thing, and I wonder how long it’ll take me to get over this. I can’t help comparing him to other children with additional needs and disabilities. Sigh!
When we’re in therapy groups or at hospital appointments, I sometimes get upset if the other children are doing more than Matthew. I know Matthew may be able to do more than some children (and maybe other parents look at him and wish their child could do some of those things), but it’s impossible to ALWAYS think of the positive – for some reason, my mind goes straight to negative thoughts first.
If another child with additional needs starts to walk, or talk, or write, or feed themselves, I HONESTLY am very happy for them and their family, but in equal measure I’m sad it’s not happening for us too.
We do celebrate all the amazing little things he does, and we are so very proud of him. I just can’t help being envious of the other parents of children with disabilities who get those ‘big wow’ moments.
I know everyone is facing their own challenges, and it’s hard for everyone (wow moments or not), and everyone wishes the best for their children. It just seems to be another phase in the long list of things I have to work through, and then (hopefully) accept.
A friend once said to me “the problems never go away but they change and you forget the previous ones” – very true. There will always be something to deal with I’m sure, but this is the one I’m working on now!
Going to Footprints helps us both, so if (like me) you’re a worrier with a pre-school age child that has additional needs, do get in touch – they empower parents and give them the support they need too.
Footprints Conductive Education Centre is a small charity based in Nottingham.
They make such a difference to the lives of children with disabilities AND their parents and families – it really is life-transforming. If you are a company seeking to support a local charity making a difference in the local community, please get in touch. They need £200,000 every year to help families like mine.
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