Yesterday my ex husband and I met with part of the medical team looking after Jacob with regard to his Aspergers diagnosis. It has been an on going battle between us parents that I had more difficulties with Jacob’s behaviour and moods than he did. And during previous medical consultations, I felt very unsupported because whenever I spoke of certain behaviours I had observed in Jacob, his dad would say; “Oh! I haven’t had the same problem” or “Jacob doesn’t do that all the time”. So at those times, I felt like I was imagining things and I am sure the doctors thought the same thing.
The meeting went well and towards the end, the Paediatric Psychiatrist asked what it was Shane, my ex was doing at his place that helped regulate Jacob’s behaviour that I could maybe try for myself. And when Shane answered that it was probably that he was more laid back and calm, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Everything fell into place.
I am a feeling person, while Shane is a very unemotional person. During our time together, he and I did not connect emotionally. And it was safe to assume that he and Jacob don’t connect in that way either. On the other hand Jacob and I are very strongly emotionally connected, with him picking up on my emotional status. When I was calm, he was calm and when I was stressed and short of time time, he picked up on it and acted to suit. And it was clear that Shane’s moods did not affect Jacob in the same way. And that was the key to the difference between how he behaved with us.
This new realisation needs a lot of consideration. But at its simplest level it means that if I can keep myself calm and collected and happy, then my emotional status would not be a trigger for Jacob’s moods and behaviours. It was not the only determinant of either the moods or the behaviour, but by eliminating that one trigger, it meant I would be more available to help him deal with other things that might affect him day to day….
When we have a child with special needs, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Some of it is because of guilt. Guilt that makes us wear a hair shirt and keep ourselves unhappy because we feel that is how we can best serve our children. But I can see how this is entirely the wrong thing to do. I had actually started to realise it some time ago and had been pay more attention to keeping my own stress levels under control. The bottom line is if we are in a good place emotionally, mentally and physically, we are better able to care for our children. We are all they have and it is only by becoming whole that we can give all of ourselves to them when they need us……..
One of the small things I do for myself regularly is to buy flowers…..Last week they were supplemented by some brought by my Englishman…..I would like to share them with all of my readers…..Thank you for reading….