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To the Mother Who Feels Embarrassed About Her Child's Behavior

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To the mother who is embarrassed to take her child out in public:

There was a period of time where I did not want to go out of the house. I didn’t want to take my son anywhere in fear that he would do something embarrassing or that I couldn’t handle his behavior. I had not yet gained an understanding of what he was trying to communicate and why he acted the way he did. I was not in control of my own life because of it. I felt judged by the general public. I felt like a failure as a mom. I felt detached from my son and worried I wasn’t capable of loving him in the way he deserved to be loved.

Every night, when he was sleeping, I would look at him and say, “Tomorrow I will be a better mother.”

For a couple of years, the situation remained unchanged. Eventually, I realized that I was just a mom doing the best she could under stressful circumstances. I was not an autism expert, behavior expert or speech therapist, yet I had put these expectations on myself.  All I really wanted to be was his mom, his nurturer, his first teacher. I wanted to connect with him. I felt like I didn’t know how to be his mom.

The power of unconditional love is ever-present in the journey of parenting a child with a disability. I live it every day and I want you to know that in my experience, it will get better with time. You will get better at handling situations. You will learn to adapt and modify what you do. You will learn what works and what doesn’t work. Your child needs you to see their gifts and to know you are there for them, even when they are struggling the most. It will get easier. The more you understand your child, the better you’ll both fare through tough moments. It’s a long road, but you will get there.

Getty image by Spukkato.

Originally published: November 7, 2019
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