Autism and Us

I am an Autism advocate. I will be sharing how Autism affects our family, the highs and the lows. Trying to make people more aware through honest posts, helping the world to change a little for my Son.

I’ve had just about all I can take of this Lions Tour thank God that is over with. I’ve had enough of sport in fucking general if I’m being honest. If it’s sport my husband will watch it, it seems to me like there is not a single day of the year that there is not a  professionally played sport televised. If it’s televised then it’s on in this house. Now I know most men are like this and it’s usually fine with me but this past week has tested me and the weekend was a disaster. Neil left at 7am on Saturday to go watch the sodding Lions and I was stuck solo parenting again all day, I know that there are single parents (I’ve been one), army families and people all across the world who do it on their own day in day out but Saturday…. I had had a guts full.

Every week is getting a little harder, what with appointments coming out of me ears for Connor. Therapies and education, we have the speech therapist coming two sometimes three days per week and I am trying to learn more about behavioral therapy and techniques to help with his anxiety attacks. Plus all the day to day things we face, sometimes just getting him dressed has me on my knees in tears. Now we have things beginning for Florence, in the next three weeks we have three new intervention projects starting and her first appointment with the speech therapist. Now I’m grateful for all this I really am, I may not seem it right now but I am. My kids mean everything to me and they need my help but right now I feel like I’m failing. I’m struggling to stay on top of life. I am failing at keeping on top of special needs learning, I’m failing at spreading my attention around all of my children, I’m failing at keeping on top of housework, I’m failing at getting my daughter to move on with her development and most of all I am failing at being me. There is only so many things you can fail at before you start to question if your the problem, I must be the failure. I am the only common denominator.

This has been on of those weeks where everything is kicking my arse. Being a Wife is kicking my arse, being a Mum is kicking my arse and being Natalie is kicked me so far up the arse that she’s been gone a few weeks now. So feeling like this and the fact that I was solo parenting again Saturday, which I wanted to strangle my husband for…even though he needs a break too because he works his arse off for this family, didn’t make the weekend seem all that promising to me. Plodding along though, until major meltdown hit right in the middle of trying to get Ed Sheeran tickets on the ticket master website. FFS! I only wanted ten minutes why choose now to kick off Connor? Yeh I’m blaming Connor, my Autistic four year old for my head stress. I mean what the fuck is up with me? (Rhetorical question please don’t answer that). I decided to get the kids out of the house for a little bit, our days and blurring into weeks and weeks into months. Being stuck in alot of the time because it’s so difficult to go places with them both on my own. We are very limited to where we can go because of Connor’s sensory issues, and I know I’m not the only Mother who has more than one child, but I can’t even go to the park for God sake. Connor has no sense of danger, he can’t speak or understand alot of what I say so if I’m pushing Florence on the swing and Connor tries to run out of the park, jump in a river, dash across the road etc… which one do I leave? The baby sitting in the swing or run as fast as I can to catch my son who won’t stop when I call him because he doesn’t register the danger. I may seem like I’m over paranoid but things have happened in the past and I’m terrified that he will get seriously hurt. So most of the time we are trapped in the house in a cycle of needing to socialise and not coping well on my own out and about.

It’s not a case of people and the nasty shit they say or do because I’m good at ignoring that, it’s just so hard to do alone and more than once I’ve broken down in tears in the middle of the street and just so you know what not one person, NOT ONE has stopped and asked if I was OK. Sometimes I just don’t get humanity at all. Why do we have this problem with people admitting that they are struggling? I’ve kept my secret long enough now, perhaps it is because I don’t feel like I’m failing every day or perhaps it’s because I’ve been ashamed but why should I? Being a mum is so hard. I’m exhausted most of the time and I miss me. What about me? I know people will think “selfish cow” but I can’t find me anymore. I’m trying to be something to everyone and I’m failing at most things, and the one that is making me the most sad is missing myself. I want to be me again for a while. I’ve given up so much to be a mum, just like most mother’s I know but I don’t think I was even slightly prepared for how much time and dedication a child with special needs takes. I hate myself for saying this but I need a break. I am now a full time carer and have had to give up my job and in doing so the career I had been planning for around three years, but that’s ok I’ve excepted that. Connor needs me and I want to be with him but now Florence is under the microscope and they could tell me at any minute she is on the spectrum too and I really don’t think I am gona cope. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and that you go through things in life to prepare you for the next chapter of your life and I still believe that, but what the fuck is am being prepared for? I sometimes sit and wonder what the hell can the universe through at me next? I feel like I’ve let my husband down alot of the time, he waited a lifetime for the family he never had and we keep getting told we are failing at every turn. This is not what I wanted for him. I wouldn’t change my children are I love them all more than life but I sometimes wish we could catch a break before we break ourselves.

I’m doing that thing that I hate, where I am looking at other people’s Facebook and Instagram and thinking, “When am I gona get to do that?”. I hate that I’ve been doing it and that I can even think it but when I found out I was having a daughter, I dreamt of ballet classes and gymnastics, Mum and daughter shopping days and horse riding but all that seems so far away, if even possible now. It makes me so mad but mostly sad because I feel like I can’t give my daughter all the things that my parents have me. I know how lucky I am to have my children, that some people can’t have the children they desperately want and that some parents have had their children taken away too soon but my children are here and I just want them to have the best and right now, I don’t feel like that is me. I always feel like I am playing catch up to everything, I am so busy all day then at night we have to have things done a certain way or Connor will struggle to settle. Not that he does most nights and when he does it’s for two or three hours at a time, then when I finally get them into bed I am trying to play catch up with it all. The housework, staying healthy and fit, just having five minutes to sit down or have a bath, having any kind of social life is just a fucking joke and never mind trying to have a career of any kind. Yes I feel incredibly lucky that I am now doing something that has been a secret passion of mine since my teenage years and that I am now lucky enough to have a husband who will do anything for this family, so I can actually take courses and be serious about writing which I’ve wanted to do for so long now but getting any time to write is near impossible. I am having to start it at around midnight sometimes and I’m not talking blogging or freelancing, I am in the process of writing a book. (There I’ve said it, the secret is finally out) At the rate I am going, I’ll be finished in 2050!!!!! I just feel like I am loosing now matter how hard I am trying to do all these things, something always slips. Myself and my husband spent no time and I mean NO TIME together, this may seem like a regular thing for parents and yes I was aware we would be giving up alot but seriously Connor has been alive for 1681 days and I have been away from him 23 times!!!! That is 1.37% of his life.

People actually think that when your child is disabled ‘at least’ you don’t have to work. People think ‘at least you get money for nothing’??? I mean are you serious? Firstly, as if I would want my child to be in any way affected so I didn’t have to work. Secondly if you think it’s a money pit then you are so misinformed. For example Connor needs around the clock care and CONSTANT supervision, that is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no sick days for me and no holiday pay. So if you actually worked that out it comes to 38p per hour, but that’s ridiculous right? So let’s work that out basing it on me ‘working’ 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, it comes to £1.60 per hour. So yeh it’s all about the money eh??? My whopping carer’s allowance. The fact is I had a job, I wanted to go back to work and I couldn’t so I am staying home to make sure my son gets the life he is entitled too… and just so you know, I’d do it for free. So to the people who think that as a carer in this country you get to stay home and look after your children, why should you get paid to do that?? There is my wage slip broken down for you. I don’t see my children as a job I chose to have them and I wouldn’t change a thing about them but I am drained at the moment and I feel like if I don’t get myself back in the picture a little bit I might disappear altogether. Being a mum is so hard, we are expected to juggle so many different jobs all at the same time. Am I the only one who’s not coping?

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

*not my image
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Over the past week I have done alot of thinking about mental health and why I think that there is such a stigma surrounding the subject. As children we are all taught there is a way that things are done, we are taught the basics of how to function in society like walking, talking and eating etc. We are conditioned to believe there is a right way of doing things, you go to school, get good marks and then go to Uni. You pass Uni, go travelling and meet the man/woman of your dreams and make amazing plans for your life. You come home to your dream job, a long promising career and then buy your first home. You get engaged and plan your dream wedding, go on a once in a lifetime trip for your honeymoon and come home to find out you’re expecting your first child. The first of three wonderfully perfect children, who grow up to become wonderfully perfect versions of yourself, doing all the things in life that you did (if not better) and then you grow old gracefully with your life long partner and die peacefully in your happy place. The end.

Two words….. FUCK OFF!!!

It’s no wonder we all have this warped view over mental health if we are aspiring to be this concocted version of Stepford lifestyle. This is the reason why people are constantly questioning themselves, why people are always subconsciously in competition with each other. Surely we are not hoodwinked by this? Surely not. Why is this version of perfection sold to us as children, not just by our parents (who are not entirely to blame as they probably had it fed to them) but by society? It continues on throughout our lives, through Instagram and Facebook etc. Who’s opinion of perfection is this anyway? It’s certainly not mine. I was a little naughty in school and not a straight A* student kind of girl, I most definitely didn’t get the grades to go to Uni and there was no way they would of accepted me at the time due to the fact I was pregnant!! That’s right I was a pregnant teenager and get this… I was an UNMARRIED pregnant teenager!! Shock horror!! As if this wasn’t a stressful enough time for me as it was I had to put up with the judgments of others who thought they were so much better than me, thinking that their one way ticket into a university made them so fucking superior to me. Whilst they partied and went on group holidays, I went from one crap job to the next just to get by with my son and in my disastrous relationship I clung on to the thought that if I stayed in this relationship, everything would be ok. Now this is not aimed at anyone in particular by any means, and I am the kind of person that thinks if you ever get the chance in life to travel, party and go off to uni then you should take the chance, grab it with both hands. However if that chance never comes your way, or it’s not in the correct ‘order’ that society deems correct then that’s ok too.

After having my son when I was just a baby myself, in a tragic relationship I suffered from post natal depression. Which thankfully, even though I was young I recognised quickly and managed to pull away from but not before it had spiraled into actual depression. Now people assume depression is something that you only suffer with if you’re sat alone in your house, rocking in the corner crying with the curtains closed. This is the very reason why people no nothing about mental health, because people have the totally wrong impression of depression. Depression is the guy at work who makes jokes and gets everyone laughing, the guy who is everyone’s best bud but goes home alone to an empty house and is desperately lonely. Depression is the single Mother with 3 kids, a full time job and is on the PTA. She is always smiling in the playground and on the school run, you always applaud her for her beautiful make up “How do you find the time?”. However when the kids are fast asleep she cries into large glass of red wine, because she has been so mentally trodden on that she believes no one will ever love her again, because who wants to raise another man’s kids anyway?? This is what depression is. It’s just as likely to be your friend as it is someone crying on their knees, alone in the dark. Society is far too busy teaching us how we are expected to be living our lives and what we should be aspiring to be, rather than considering that we might be happy with the way we are or unhappy for that matter. That we may need a little help, instead of alot of judgement. I am so sure that this kind of prejudgment about right and wrong way to live is why racism still exists, why homophobia still exists. It is because we are trying to live someone else’ version of perfect.

People have mental health problems, some develop and some are born with it. Some are milder than others and some completely destroy a person, but I truly believe that if we as a society weren’t so caught up in the ‘perfect version’ of how life goes we would see that really there is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s the reason people don’t talk about it, because people with it are afraid of being judged and people without are far to quick to judge. We are all subconsciously trying to live up to these unachievable heights. Now I am not saying that everyone is closed minded and I know that I am probably going to get some backlash from this post but in my experience with my own mental health and my sons mental health, most people just cannot talk about it. We should not be hiding away from talking about it because we either think it’s bullshit, or because we simply just don’t know what to say. If you have a friend or family member with any kind of mental health issue ask them how they are. Ask them to try to explain how they feel, because it’s ok for you to not instinctively understand. It’s NOT ok however for you to not even try to. I feel like I am in a good place now mentally, I still suffer with crippling anxiety but other than that I am all good and I’m proud of myself. I am however constantly battling for the rights of my son and his mental health, he is Autistic and people are just as unwilling to talk about that as any other mental health issue. If you don’t get it, just ask me. I will gladly try to explain the best way I know how so that you can understand a little better, so that step by step and day by day the world becomes a more tolerant place for everybody to live in.

Lots of things throughout my life have added to the depression I carried around for a long time, I am now in such a good place and somehow I fought my way out of it but I know it’s not always that simple. I hate the thought of people having the added pressure of people judging their lives because I’ve been there and I know exactly how that feels, it’s pressure that is simply not needed. So please just stop it. If you have ever thought for one minute that it’s “all in their head”, please just stop. Take a minute to think that the mind is a closed door and you never know what goes on behind closed doors, and you will never know how hard it is to open that door to someone when your mind is pushing it tight shut. Depression, post natal, PTSD, autism, schizophrenia and every other mental health condition is real. Just ask. If you are suffering from some form of mental health condition please know that you are not alone and even though it may seem like there is nothing you can do to help yourself, someone somewhere wants to help you. Just ask.

Mental health is just as valid as cancer. Stop sweeping under the rug, and stop trying to achieve someone elses ‘perfect’.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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(photo bit blurred to respect privacy of other children)

Thursday 6th July

This morning started off so much easier than most mornings in this house and I have no idea why? We had a busy day right from the start of the day, as it was Connor’s first transition day into the SRB school he will be attending full time in September (SRB prev post). Now usually Connor sleeps in due to him having such trouble sleeping through the nights so I had already decided last night to wake up early get myself and Florence sorted and ready to go before even attempting to stir him. It can go one of two ways he either jumps up happy or he has a total meltdown and it goes from bad to worse from thereon out. However, despite the late night he got up really well. Now I didn’t want to add pressure this morning and push for him to come downstairs too quickly so I took him some breakfast in bed and he watched his tablet, like a King. Two pieces of marmite on toast and a chocolate brioche. Sometimes it can take as long as an hour to eat, an hour to get dressed and I have to physically dress him which can be so hard if he decides to fight me. I knew I would have to be ready, but he was an absolute delight this morning which really helped. Once he was readywe waited for my Mum to arrive, she was coming as reinforcements for me because Neil had to work and we had no idea how Connor would react to this huge change. Connor is not all that great with new places, new people and large numbers of people and in a school there can be quite a bit of noise, for Connor that is a no no.

We managed to get in the car all fine, with a slight anxious episode over the cars because he is really struggling with traffic at the moment, something else we are trying to work on. The traffic just simply moves too fast, it’s too quick and the cars etc are just too big. Arriving at his beautiful school my Mum was immediately impressed just at looking at the building, the difference in the site compared to his last place is so extreme there really is no comparison. Parked the car we made our way to the reception area and they were expecting us. The reception staff paid no mind to the meltdown that ensued in the foyer because he had spotted their sports day setup and the slide in the playground and just simply had to get to it. They called down to the classroom and asked his class teacher to come out to meet him, by the time she got to us we were mid meltdown and both sat on the floor, me trying to clam him with soothing voice and deep pressure. Once his teacher arrived she got down on the floor straight away, she sat with us at his level. Nobody batted an eye, she new that Connor needs to not see her as a threat and she needed to watch me and learn what calms him. As a family we spend alot of time on the floor. Myself, my husband, our teenage son, my family and my friends. These people that are in my inner circle who don’t care what society thinks when they are sat on the floor in Asda, who don’t listen to the passers by who mutter about the ‘spoilt child’ kicking out in the car park. My people who love Connor exactly how he is weren’t there (my Mum had hold of Florrie) but this lady just got down instinctively and I knew straight away she was going to take good care of my boy. After I explained what the problem was she took us outside and straight into the playground so Connor could go on the slide. He just ran in, he didn’t look back. After around 5 minutes of us chatting to his class teacher and Connor playing on the slide with another teacher, the other children in his class came out to play with him. They had be prepped that Connor was joining their class over the last few days and were excited to meet him. They all started playing together and Connor was laughing his best belly laugh, I knew he was fine. Myself, my Mum and Florence backed away slowly and Connor just carried on running and we could hear his laugh all the way up by the top gate. I knew that I would keep checking my phone just like all Mums do on the first few days, even weeks and given our history of how our boy has been treated, no one could blame me for my nerves. We strolled in the sunshine along the brook all the way into the town, spying on the ducks with my daughter and chatting. My phone didn’t ring. Not once.

I’m so please that the summertime seems to be returning, there have been a few rainy days where I’ve thought that was it. We had our hot two weeks of summer and we were done but the the sun has been such a lush change today and Florence loves to be in the pushchair so it was win win. Connor being able to go to a suitable school is going to be so good for him but at the same time it will be wonderful for Florence. She has never had anytime with me just to herself and with her flagging up a few social concerns I am desperate to get her to toddler groups etc, which is next to impossible with Connor it tow. We managed to have a stroll around the town and grab a coffee before walking back to collect Connor before lunch as we didn’t want to push him too far straight away. He came out witha great big smile on his face and a lovely visual daily diary for me to look at, showing some of the things he had done that morning. We waved ‘goodbye, see you next time.’.

The kiddos had an easy peasy lunch of a happy meal while I did a few muggle jobs, like going to the bank and popping into Morrisons for a few bits. We came home and while Connor chilled out, Florence napped and my Mum watched her crazy Australian soap operas, I popped to Slimming World to weigh for the week. After Mum had gone home with two big bags of our washing (still no machine), we decided to do a bit of sensory play with bubbles and shaving foam in the bath, which is always a winner with both babies especially Connor. Jay came home the usual time and was excited to hear all about Connor’s first day, he is so grown up I take it for granted how he takes everything in his stride. It’s not easy have a sibling with a disability. Connor takes up alot of our time and energy but Jay gets on with it and we are lucky with such a big age gap, that he is happy to be left to himself and his mates. Teenager in residence. The kids had a lovely tea, I treated them to a bit of steak (which they both love) with veg and homemade chips. So now we are all clean, fed and ready for bed.

Managed to get them tucked up and sleeping Connor by 7pm (miracles can happen) and Florrie was more like 8pm, which again isn’t too bad. I was going to work on some theory for my photography portfolio because it has to be submitted in 5 weeks time and I cannot leave anything to chance. Whenever I get time I need to work on things, because you never know when the routine will go tits up in this house and I will run out of time. However, it didn’t go quite according to plan. I lay on the bed to get my head together and the next thing I knew it was 5am Friday. Neil said he did try to wake me and I wasn’t very nice to him, that will teach him eh. So no, I didn’t get any portfolio done, or any writing. Well done me. On a separate note, I can’t believe that it has taken me to nearly 32 years of age to finally do the things I have been passionate about my whole life, and always thought were a pipe dream. Turns out nothing is if you work hard enough for it.

So that’s it, a day in our life this week. A really proud, important day and such a massive step towards a whole new future for Connor.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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This week we went to visit a new school that Connor has been offered a place at ready for September. Up until now he has been attending a local nursery in a mainstream primary school, and needless to say what a horrific experience that has been. For our whole family. For the last 19 months our poor boy has had to suffer judgement, stigma and neglect from teachers, the last people you would believe capable of such things. Now I don’t really want to go into too much detail of the things we have been expected to put up with or the way Connor has been treated, as I think I have made myself perfectly clear to anybody who will listen. So from here on out I am going to forget that that dreadful place even exists and just pray that another family never has to experience the same hate from them again. We have made all the relevant authorities aware so it’s just up to them now I guess.

This past Thursday myself and Neil were invited down to see the SRB school that have offered Connor a place in there wonderful school. We had no idea what to expect and being an incredibly over emotional person I was extremely nervous and considering our previous experience, absolutely terrified. I decided to try to keep an open mind even though I had already convinced myself that this kind of place just won’t be able to meet Connor’s needs. Oh how wrong I was, and I have never been more thrilled to admit I was wrong either. For those of you that don’t know, an SRB school is what’s known as a Special Resource Base school (maybe you’ve heard the term ‘base unit’). It’s a mainstream school with some classrooms available to cater for children with special needs/learning difficulties or disabilities. They come in all different types and Connor’s for example is for children with highly/severely complex needs. The minute we arrived my first thoughts were just how incredibly modern and beautiful the building was, we went in and met with a representative from the local authority and the deputy head teacher to show us around the whole of the school not just the SRB. Which straight away showed me the ethos of this school and how these kids, these wonderful special kids are part of the main school and not segregated off. Each child there that we saw was smiling and we were shown examples of how the children in the mainstream side interacted and involved the children in the base classes in everything they did. These children are being taught that difference is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of, they just embraced it as part of their world. They saw no difference. For me this spoke volumes because I am always afraid of how the rest of the world will treat Connor, this terrifies me more than anything else you could think of. The children in the mainstream will take this attitude through to high school and then on into adulthood, that school is going to be responsible for a whole generation of open minded people. It’s wonderful. The school has two SRB classes, a foundation class (where Connor will be) and a key stage 2 and all children have a range of different needs. Each class has a maximum of 8 pupils sometimes less, with 4 teachers in each class. Which straight away eases my mind as Connor is a runner, he will just simply leave somewhere if he gets the chance. So the more eyes on him the better. Each classroom has the capacity to deal with all forms of communication which is amazing as we are just starting our journey of communicating through PECS (picture exchange communication system) and the fact that it will be used for 6 hours of the day in school makes reinforcing it at home that much easier for me. They also use sign language, as well as many other forms of communication to help give each child a voice and help them with their independence.

One of the highlights for me is that they have a sensory room, which the children have access to whenever they need it. This was a game changer for me, it’s one of the main things I have been battling for all this time. Connor is so sensory driven and has SPD (sensory processing disorder) so the minute I saw this I cant explain the relief that completely flooded over me, I know how much this will benefit him. It will stimulate him to the level that his brain needs so that he will be at a point where he is able to learn and retain any information given to him. We also told that the children in Connor’s class go on a school outing every Monday afternoon, the children are taken on little trips so they can engage with the outside world. Which for someone with Autism is so important, Autism is in many ways a social interaction condition and alot of people on the spectrum have difficulty with this. I know Connor does and this will help him seeing that the outside world can be part of his world. So it’s safe to say I am overjoyed with this school selection and I am finally feeling like my mind is at rest a little. Next week Connor will start his transition days so he get familiar with the building and the faces and know where things are, things like that are really important to him. After the horrid start to his school life this is a huge step in the right direction at a safe place that isn’t going to right him off the minute he walks through the door. He needs this, I need this. After nearly 5 years of having him at home full time I really need the break, and I am fully aware that there are people who cannot have children and I am extremely lucky but I am also knackered, over stretched and lost. My poor little girl has had no time with me just to herself and is limited on what we do because we simply can’t go certain places with Connor, so she is going to get some much needed attention and I will be getting a much needed rest.

So I am going to leave it there (because I am rambling now) and I will update how the first day goes. So excited.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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I cry because I’m scared. Scared of a world that might not understand how difficult it is for you just to be you. I cry because I worry what the children will say to you when I’m not there and I worry will you ever say anything back? Will you ever say anything at all, will you talk? Tell me your happy, scared, lonely or just fine Mum thank you very much. I cry because I feel selfish wishing you could talk, focusing on something you can’t do instead of all the wonderful things that make you, you. I cry because there will be a time when I’m not here anymore, who will make sure you eat when you refuse for days on end? Who lay with you at night when your brain won’t turn off and it’s dark and too quiet? Who will know which way you have to have your cucumbers cut and what order you have to go through doors? I cry because in a world of such desperate, terrorising times will you know how to be safe? I cry because the people stare at you when we sit on the floor outside in the rain, because you just can’t move and can’t tell me why. So when we lay there with the rest of our little family I start to think. Think of how amazingly lucky I am, and I start to cry.

I cry because I am so inspired by your complete love of life. I cry because I am so proud of how far you’ve come despite all the obstacles and the doubt. I cry because I am in awe of how you smile through tears when I know how much it’s hurting just to hear noise. I cry with laughter as you spin around and around, flapping your hands with glee as your little sister looks at you and belly laughs because she loves you so much. I cry with pride at how fiercely protective your older brother is of you, and how much he loves being with you. He knows just how you like to play and doesn’t care when people whisper about us as we do our shopping. I cry with happiness as I watch the way your Father looks at you when your together. That deep loving look in his eyes, the look that makes me fall even more in love with him each time I see you together because I know he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this world than with you. I cry tears of joy when you laugh hysterically at the same video on repeat, and at that look on your face when you watch your favourite film and realise Woody’s saved the day again. The way just dance around with your eyes closed and a grin as wide as your face, but most of all I cry because I can’t believe you chose me to be your Mum. That I am that lucky, I get to see this life through your eyes and know the true meaning of unconditional love. That’s why I cry.

Chat soon 

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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Autism | I hate how much I love you.


Your life long they say. Life long,
Here to stay.
Even though you weren’t invited,
Weren’t asked, you came. Anyway.
Do you know your part of every conversation?
In some kind of way.
Spending most of our time explaining,
Always explaining you away.

 

Your there in the mornings holding us up
When we really really need to go.
Your there dragging ass in the night time,
Making it go so. so. slow.
Am I gona get through on no sleep again?
No sleep, I just don’t know.
Yeh you are, just get up
Come on girl, come on get up. Get up and go.

 

It’s always all you, all about you
On repeat, repeat, repeat.
I wana scream in your face,
“Get the fuck out!!” But I won’t.
I won’t admit defeat.
A slow and steady marathon, run you down, keep up my pace.
And I’ll get you, believe me ill get you
I’ll win this fucking race.

 

People walking by just don’t have a clue.
Talk, talk, talk
Can’t they see my boy? He’s right there,
Right there. In front of you.
All they do is talk. Whispers, tuts
Can’t they see through?
All they do is fucking talk,
Talking all about you.

 

Hard and fast, like a bullet from a gun.
You knew just where to aim.
Right through my heart, like you’d already won.
Shameless. Letting us take the blame.
Your like an itch I just can’t get to
Like a niggling, little itch.
Just out of reach. So come at me,
Bring it on. You senseless son of a bitch.

 

You came like a thief in the night, no warning.
No prior offence.
And now they say your trying to take her too,
Fuck me! You’re really summin’ else.
But you won’t break this family mate,
No matter how many times you come.
We’re here together, the five of us
We are strong. We are one.

 

Even after all of this, all of this
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Cos’ you made me a force to be reckoned with,
Through all this pain you bring.
I won’t let you define us,
But your part of who we are – Who knew?!
I love my little family but I hate how much,
How much I really, love you too.

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So here I am again. Here we are again. Here it is again. Some of you will be reading this thinking she’s finally lost the plot and to tell the truth I feel like I have a little. This week started of OK  (it’s Wednesday today), the weekend was good which led into Monday which apart from being a little tired from a late night binge watching Lost while the kiddies slept, was pretty much a breeze and then it was Tuesday. Tuesday 25th April 2017 to be exact. I had totally forgotten that I’d arranged an appointment with our health visitor for the afternoon and it wasn’t until a reminder on my phone went off that I started to panic a bit. I’d made this appointment a few weeks back when one night after some panicked messages to a close friend and a screeching, weepy phone call to my husband (who was at football) had happened. Over the space of a week or two I’d been watching and making mental notes of little things that caught my eye, things that my beautiful little girl would do and more importantly things that she wouldn’t. 
My beautiful baby girl Florence. She’s perfect. She is small for her age, a teeny little ball of fire with beautiful blonde hair that flicks up at the end. The most infectious, cheeky little laugh, soft soft skin and beautiful blue eyes. Eyes that don’t look at me. That don’t look at anyone really when I think about it. She’s 19 months old. 19 months,wow that’s gone fast. She doesn’t utter a word. She loves spending time with me, loves it to the point she can’t bare to be without me. Now these are all things that lots of children do but when you know what I know you’ll understand why it wasn’t just that simple for me. My son Connor has Autism,  ‘Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.’   http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/asd.aspx

Our health visitor came out and she is a wonderful wonderful woman. She listened to me, observed my gorgeous girl and didn’t judge me. She didn’t think I was paranoid or frightened, she did her job and she did it well. By the end of our chat things were quite apparent and she gave me the news that I was expecting all along. My little girl raised some major concern and in her professional opinion Florence needs to be reviewed by a paediatrician. Florence has suspected Autistic traits. So here we are again. On this journey that I thought was nearly going to kill me the first time, now we have to do it all over again.

I’ve found that you don’t actually crave something until there’s a possibility that you might never get it. I waited my whole life for a daughter and there’s a chance that I might not get the daughter I thought I would have. Does that make me sound like a bitch? Like a selfish mare. Then yeh I’m selfish. No one ever thinks that their child will have some kind of disability, no one would ever wish that. If it turns out that way it doesn’t mean that you love your child any less but it’s not what you had planned. When we found out Connor was Autistic we didn’t love him any less and I’d never change him but I did grieve for all the things we will probably never do. Your allowed to be sad. If you don’t get this then you never will until it happens to you and I can’t change that, I’m not after sympathy just a level of understanding from you to me. I’m angry, I’m upset, in fact I’m fucking livid and without wanting to sound like a spoilt child..IT’S NOT FAIR!!! Why does my daughter have to go through this? Why my daughter? Why us? I don’t get it. What did we do that is so awful that this has to potentially happen all over again? I don’t have the answers to any of these questions and maybe I never will.

I’ve met some incredible parents over the past two and a half years, some truly wonderful families. All of which have at least one and in some cases more than one child on the Autistic spectrum and it makes me wonder, why them? Right now I’m so confused and have an insane amount of emotions running through me but I’ve decided to document this journey. From the very beginning until we know exactly what we are dealing with, because if I can help one parent in this situation know exactly what’s ahead, to help their world feel a little less anxious even if it’s just for a little while then I’ll help myself feel a bit better. Help myself heal a little bit because right now it’s so dark for me here, just dark clouds all around me. I know this feeling will pass and soon enough I’ll see a little light but right now I’m breaking and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. If this helps just one person, if I can be the sunshine through one parent’s dark cloud then I know I’ll be strong enough for what’s ahead of me.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham 

xoxo 
 

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It’s funny how competitive we are as parents. All of us. I’ve never really thought much about it before now, yesterday all across every social media platform I saw parents (mainly Mothers) getting nervous/excited over school places for their 3-5 year olds. Which is fine of course and I remember so well how delighted I was when Jay, my eldest got his place in the school of my choice. You’re so allowed to be excited but it also got me thinking about how vain we all are and how it’s all about us really. The parents. Well all about me at least.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute it’s not little Sally’s first choice, it’s yours. Her Mum or Dad. You’re pleased because she got into your first choice of school. This got me thinking about me and how vain I was when I first learnt that Connor’s school life wasn’t going to be as straightforward as I assumed it would be. Connor was already in his local nursery class when he was diagnosed with Autism. Things had been tough settling him in just like any other child going to school for the first time, he had the usual separation issues but it’s also way more complicated than that. I was dead set on him going to a mainstream school, a ‘normal’ school that I wasn’t even prepared to discuss any other eventuality (this is one of my biggest regrets). Had I not let my vanity get in the way he wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in now, that’s the only way I can explain it. Vanity, because what else was it? It was my issue, my problem. I just couldn’t cope with the thought of it. It was a reflection on me and people would judge me. I must be a bad parent because why else would he be there. What an idiot. A naive, vain idiot. Had I not let my ego, my vanity get the better of me I would have understood much quicker how much of a better future my son will have if I do things his way and not mine. (Now if your reading this  thinking “shut up I can be excited if I want about my child’s school place” then please understand that I am in no way suggesting you shouldn’t be, this is a reflection on me and not you. I was just a giddy about Jay starting school. This is about how this has made me feel now. Just me).

The minute we realised Connor wasn’t coping which was pretty quickly, I said ‘he’s not going to a special school’ and I dug my heels in and made sure he went to mainstream. I was such a fool because i didnt take the time to understand and I assumed that he would be shoved in a school, get no qualifications and everyone would just forget about him. I can honestly say that I’m ashamed of myself for thinking that and judging before even learning about it. Me a Mother of a disabled child so quick to judge without knowing, I wish I could go back in time and slap myself. Never before have I been so narrow minded and I never will again.

We are now a whole year on and Connor is still in his mainstream school and we have spent the last 12 months battling with the education system for funding and support, dealing with a nursery teacher who told me she’s just a “glorified babysitter” and she “can’t teach him anything”, putting up with a head master who is so afraid of his own narrow minded staff that he did nothing and said nothing when they left my son in a dirty nappy for over an hour and a half because they refused to change him “it’s not their job”. Each and every day it’s a new battle with the school that I chose to put him in and while I sit and cry and shout about how this system has let my son down and continues to do so each and every day, all along it was me who wanted him to go to a mainstream school. My first choice of school and now hes stuck with it. Does this make me a bad parent? I can’t help but think it does.

In the last year I’ve learnt so much about these special schools. These incredible schools and the therapies and education they offer. About the wonderful staff who work in them and I am now battling every day to try to get my beautiful boy there, where he needs to be. His first choice.

I watched everyone’s photos and status updates of how happy they are about their child’s school place and I was just miserable. I couldn’t be happy for anyone because I let my son down so badly by making the wrong choice. 

All because I was to vain. So there it is a post all about the school placements and how I feel about it. All about how I feel. Me.

 I’m so vain, I probably think this post is about me. I’m so vain.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy 

xoxo 

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Hi guys. Thanks for stopping by my blog and showing an interest in all things me. This is my first blog post so I thought it would be a good idea to share a few things about me that only friends and family would generally know, hopefully this will give you a little bit more of a clue what I’m like.

As I sat down to write a list of things about me I actually realised just how hard that is. I tried to make myself sound interesting and not seem like a giant loser from the valleys but it turns out I obviously am (haha), because it was alot harder than I thought it would be. So here are some things about me that you might not know if you were to meet me just once, seeing as though I’d really like you to come here more than once I thought I’d be more revealing than I would normally on a first meeting. So grab a cuppa and find out a little more all about me.

 

Motherhood

No one tells you how hard being a Mum actually is. No one tells you about ‘Mum guilt’. We all get it, well at least I know I do. ‘Mum guilt’ is that shitty feeling you get just after you’ve snapped at one of your kids because they just asked you (for the 6000th time) for another packet of crisps. You snapped because you are so tired from having zero hours sleep last night, because your kid just doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s not acceptable to play Pepper Pig weebles at 3am. Or your letting Disney Junior do some parenting on full blast while you hide in the kitchen pretending to be busy just so you can drink a cup of coffee while it’s still hot. The WORST one of all is when you start comparing yourself to other ‘perfect’ Instagram Mums with their ‘perfect’ Mum-bun and their ‘prefect’ flat lay shots. Here’s some advice……DON’T DO THAT!!

I’ve come to an understanding with myself in the last year or so, that no one I repeat NO ONE is ‘perfect’. Being knackered, surviving on coffee and dry shampoo is part of being a Mum and we are all just doing the best we can. None of us are the perfect Mum. I’ve decided to become my own version of prefect and that to me means happy kids. Happy kids, Happy Mum. When I’m happy I thrive at being a Mum and it’s taken me a long time to understand that.

I’ve been all kinds of Mother. Teenage Mother | Mother in a bad relationship | Single Mother | Good Mother | Not so good Mother | Married Mother | Mum to boys | Mum to a girl | Working Mother | Benefit Mother | Sad Mother | Happy Mother | Lonely Mother | Autism Mother | the list goes on and on…

Being a Mother is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done and probably the most important thing I will ever do, but I love it. Most days they drive me crazy but every day I love them with every part of me and it’s definitely not anyone else’s version of perfect but my own. So let’s start telling each other. If your a Mother with other Mum friends tell them how great they are. Tell her she’s fucking perfect for her kids and that’s the best perfect there is. We have to stick together, one big PERFECT Motherhood squad.

Hoarder

There I said it, I AM A HOARDER.

We live in a shoebox sized house, the five of us are all squeezed into this teeny tiny little house and I keep things. Lots of things. I must get it from my Grandad because he was a huge hoarder. Every so often I have a massive clearout to make more room and then within a few weeks I’m stock piling again. Not sure what’s wrong with me maybe I have a condition, i know I’m doing it and I know when I buying it I have no room but there it is …on my shelf.

Like books for example, do I really need to keep a book that I’ve already read about 10 years ago and will probably never read again? No. Especially when I can probably just got to the local charity shop and buy it again for 10p if I actually needed it later. Which takes me very nicely onto my next secret fact…..

Charity Shop Queen

I am addicted to charity shops. I love to search for treasures in among all the piles of junk that people have dumped there too hastily. I think it’s a fair estimate to say at least 95% of my wardrobe is from a charity shop or second hand from Ebay. I get this buzz if I can get something really cheap, like if I get a whole outfit for under £5.00 I am literally busting to get home and tell my Husband who has absolutely no interest at all (haha). So I am sure that you will see a charity shop haul blog post in the future.

An average non-muggle from middle earth, in a galaxy far far away

Yep, you’ve guessed it. I am a fantasy literature geek. I absolutely love all things Harry Potter, The Hobbit/LOTR and Star Wars (other fantasy literature works are also available). I mean I can’t get enough of reading them or watching them. I love creative writing and a huge dream of mine is to have some published works, massive influences of mine include J K Rowling and J R R Tolkien among others so I have read their works alot. I always have this thing I say that my husband laughs at, I say if you claim to be a Harry Potter fan because you watched the films then we can’t be friends (haha). Star Wars well that is definitely my Dad, he loved the original trilogy as a teenager and ‘forced’ (see what I did there) it upon me as a child. I’ve been hooked ever since. There’s magic in my DNA.

Don’t worry though I won’t be continually trying to get you all to join some sci-fi cult I promise, for now.

Slimming World

Yes I am a slimmer. I started Slimming World in May 2015 because I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. I was a little over weight at the time and didn’t like having my photo taken, I used to keep out of the shot and have no pics with my kids. So I made the choice to go to my local group and I haven’t regret it for one minute since. Since May I have lost over a stone and a half, I’m finally comfortable in my own skin again and the food I eat makes me feel more with it. Which is great when you are running around after three kids and a husband every day, I need to be on top of my game. I’m sure that I will be doing some Slimming World blog posts and also some budgeting food posts too, I’ve found that since I’ve started my slimming journey that my kids eat better and I spend less. I am really dedicated when it comes to budgeting and  mealtimes at home, so I would love to share that with everybody as well.

Housewife/Housework

I am not a domestic goddess, not at all. I see all these amazing Mums on Instagram with all their shit together with the housework and at first I was like ‘Wow!’ but now I’m like blah blah blah….Behind the camera it’s probably as much of a shit hole as anyone else’s anyway!

I do not like it. I just don’t. Obviously I keep the house clean and tidy, the usual compulsory tasks like washing are always done but I hate it. Sorry, but I’m not even sorry. I am a big fan of the last minute blitz before a visitor arrives and you will never come to my house and see toys all neatly in a row. Shit is everywhere, that’s just how it works for me. My husband probably thought he was going to marry me and this crap would automatically fix itself but no, in sickness and in healthy baby and this is my sickness.

 

So that’s it. A few facts about me, I’m just an average person and these are some of the things about me that you would probably learn a few years into the friendship but I thought I’d lay some out to give you the chance to run away now (no that’s a joke. Please don’t run away). I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first blog post, I’m hoping to upload as often as I can. Whether or not people will show the slightest interest is another thing entirely.

Chat soon

Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy

xoxo

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