Becky Beresford

@becky-beresford | contributor
Becky lives in Illinois and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wild sons. After finding out their oldest was autistic, they embarked on a journey to help their son thrive. Becky has learned to embrace the hard, beautiful mess that is special needs parenting, and is grateful for the opportunity to see diversity through heaven's eyes. She has also developed a heart for encouraging special needs caregivers. As a writer and speaker, Becky wants to empower God's children to walk out their holy worth and live life fully loved. Her writing is real, raw and refreshing, and she is currently seeking publishing for her first book! Becky loves being a part of The Mighty community and is continually blessed by people's stories and support. :) She would love to connect more over on her website @www.beckyberesford.com, or you can follow her on Insta @becky.beresford and Facebook @BeckyBeresfordAuthor

I Need Friendships as I Parent a Child With a Disability

When I became a mom, my life changed in expected and unexpected ways. I never imagined having all boys, coming from a female-heavy family. And I certainly never imagined having a sweet boy with autism.  His extraordinary life has helped transform me in ways I never knew possible. But this journey has also opened floodgates of challenges, leaving me with a new definition of the word overwhelmed. Here’s the thing, I never thought having a son with a disability would affect my ability to make friends, but these past years have been a struggle. Even though I’ve been pretty good at making friends in the past, developing authentic relationships with moms right now, in this stage of life, has been an uphill battle. And irony of all ironies: this is the most crucial time for a “village.” This is the time when I crave sisterhood and support like never before. Contrary to our culture’s opinion, parenting should never be done alone. And even though it happens all the time, it doesn’t mean it is the right way. We should be doing this hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart. I know making momma friends is hard for everyone, but when you have a child with a disability, the desire for a caring community becomes more than a desire — i t becomes a need . I realize there are many good people out there, people who smile and ask “how are you?” And while that is nice, what my heart really needs is someone who will pursue me (and my kids) past the surface level. I can honestly count on my fingers the number of moms who have initiated spending time with me and my kids… besides large birthday bashes or parties. I have tried to make playdates happen and have continually put myself out there, hoping that for once, we would be asked over to their house for a cup a coffee and some life talk. Because it’s been few and far between. I could sit here and try to guess why. Why do I see other moms hanging out around me without extending an invitation to join them? Our family is a little more intense and unpredictable, and it comes with the territory when one of your babies has autism. I get that we are not the safest bunch, and that can be scary for other families, but it is also scary for me to invite myself into their world. Meltdowns happen, we are loud, and we are disaster-zone messy, but still, I do promise you this: my boys all remember those who have opened their homes and lives to us. And so do I. To those beautiful ones who have loved my boys without hesitation and shown them grace upon grace, I want to thank you! They remember you and your children and ask about you often. And I remember how you cared about my mental health for the day and dropped off my favorite Starbucks latte because I was about to lose it. You cared about what I was going through, and you sat long enough to hear my heart. You are not just friends, you are family. And the impact you’ve had on our lives goes far beyond what you could imagine. It is precious to us. I know nobody is perfect, and I put myself at the top of that list. I never want to judge another based on their actions, but it’s really true that our choices matter. We have the ability to choose to engage in the lives of others, especially if their situation is unlike our own. And if anything, it will require us to be courageous. It isn’t easy to be the people-pursuers; to be the ones who walk towards the unknown, pushing past fears for the sake of understanding, but it is worth it. I’m speaking to myself as I write these words, but I pray they point us all towards love and compassion, even when it’s easier to stay in the safety of similarity. Because it’s our differences that make us unique, and it’s the diversity of our stories that can help us learn and grow. I think we can all agree, this world doesn’t need more division and separation. It needs connection and people who are bravely willing to close the gap. And trust me, my friend: kindness will always be the bridge. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Getty image by Rawpixel

Deidra Darst

Celebrating My Son's Autism Diagnosis

At the end of this month, my husband and I have two important anniversaries: 1. Our “dating” anniversary. 2. Our son’s autism diagnosis anniversary. That first one is something some people may celebrate. The second? Maybe not. My husband and I started dating in 2001. That’s 17 years of togetherness. We don’t necessarily “celebrate” this day, but we at least acknowledge it. This day was a really important day in history, well, our history at least, because that’s when “we” began. “We” wouldn’t be here if not for this important milestone. This will be the first year that we celebrate our son’s “autism diagnosis day.” Do people celebrate getting an autism diagnosis? Acknowledge it? Commemorate it? Throw a party? Ignore it? I for one, will be celebrating it. Why I Will Celebrate My Son’s Autism Diagnosis Before we knew for sure our son had autism, the unknown was difficult to make sense of. I knew something was “wrong,” but what was it? A whole slew of diagnoses fluttered around in my brain every day as I questioned why he was behind his same-aged peers: developmental delay, cognitive impairment, sensory processing disorder, hearing loss, auditory processing disorder… my mind never stopped worrying about the “what if’s.” The unknown was hard and scary and stressful. When I didn’t have an answer, I questioned everything. Why is he doing this? Why isn’t he doing that? What do I need to do? Will he ever get better? Where will he be this time next year? Will he ever learn new things? What is “wrong” with my baby?! Then, he got his autism diagnosis. It was “official.” We had an answer. With that answer, we had an explanation. He was different… because autism! Once the unknown became known, my stress level drastically decreased. We knew what it was. We could move forward with our lives, albeit a different direction than I would have ever planned, but forward nevertheless. We are children of the 80s, so my husband always quotes G.I. Joe, and I think it’s relevant here: “knowing is half the battle!” This year, we will celebrate the day of our son’s autism diagnosis, because we will always celebrate my son. He is my wonderful, amazing, smart, beautiful boy. We appreciate all of his great qualities — and autism just happens to be one of them! It is part of the little boy that we all love to pieces. I will celebrate because I am proud of him, diagnosis and all. I will celebrate because (to quote my favorite Bearded Lady from “The Greatest Showman”) he is who he’s meant to be. I will celebrate because I understand that there isn’t anything “wrong” or “broken” about him… he’s just different. I will celebrate, because his autism diagnosis has brought some of the most amazing people into our lives. Our autism community is truly the best. I will celebrate because God has taken my worst fear and turned it into my passion and testimony. Also, I will celebrate, because celebrations involve cake. I’m always up for cake.

I Need Friendships as I Parent a Child With a Disability

When I became a mom, my life changed in expected and unexpected ways. I never imagined having all boys, coming from a female-heavy family. And I certainly never imagined having a sweet boy with autism.  His extraordinary life has helped transform me in ways I never knew possible. But this journey has also opened floodgates of challenges, leaving me with a new definition of the word overwhelmed. Here’s the thing, I never thought having a son with a disability would affect my ability to make friends, but these past years have been a struggle. Even though I’ve been pretty good at making friends in the past, developing authentic relationships with moms right now, in this stage of life, has been an uphill battle. And irony of all ironies: this is the most crucial time for a “village.” This is the time when I crave sisterhood and support like never before. Contrary to our culture’s opinion, parenting should never be done alone. And even though it happens all the time, it doesn’t mean it is the right way. We should be doing this hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart. I know making momma friends is hard for everyone, but when you have a child with a disability, the desire for a caring community becomes more than a desire — i t becomes a need . I realize there are many good people out there, people who smile and ask “how are you?” And while that is nice, what my heart really needs is someone who will pursue me (and my kids) past the surface level. I can honestly count on my fingers the number of moms who have initiated spending time with me and my kids… besides large birthday bashes or parties. I have tried to make playdates happen and have continually put myself out there, hoping that for once, we would be asked over to their house for a cup a coffee and some life talk. Because it’s been few and far between. I could sit here and try to guess why. Why do I see other moms hanging out around me without extending an invitation to join them? Our family is a little more intense and unpredictable, and it comes with the territory when one of your babies has autism. I get that we are not the safest bunch, and that can be scary for other families, but it is also scary for me to invite myself into their world. Meltdowns happen, we are loud, and we are disaster-zone messy, but still, I do promise you this: my boys all remember those who have opened their homes and lives to us. And so do I. To those beautiful ones who have loved my boys without hesitation and shown them grace upon grace, I want to thank you! They remember you and your children and ask about you often. And I remember how you cared about my mental health for the day and dropped off my favorite Starbucks latte because I was about to lose it. You cared about what I was going through, and you sat long enough to hear my heart. You are not just friends, you are family. And the impact you’ve had on our lives goes far beyond what you could imagine. It is precious to us. I know nobody is perfect, and I put myself at the top of that list. I never want to judge another based on their actions, but it’s really true that our choices matter. We have the ability to choose to engage in the lives of others, especially if their situation is unlike our own. And if anything, it will require us to be courageous. It isn’t easy to be the people-pursuers; to be the ones who walk towards the unknown, pushing past fears for the sake of understanding, but it is worth it. I’m speaking to myself as I write these words, but I pray they point us all towards love and compassion, even when it’s easier to stay in the safety of similarity. Because it’s our differences that make us unique, and it’s the diversity of our stories that can help us learn and grow. I think we can all agree, this world doesn’t need more division and separation. It needs connection and people who are bravely willing to close the gap. And trust me, my friend: kindness will always be the bridge. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Getty image by Rawpixel

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.

Autism: Letting Go as My Son Goes to His First Day of Kindergarten

Two weeks ago, I let my heart get on a bus and go to kindergarten for the first time. He wasn’t sure what to expect and neither were we. But he walked determined, straight to that bus and got on without even looking back. Meanwhile, this momma cried. I cried sad tears because my baby would no longer be with me all day… someone else would be looking out for him. I cried scared tears because I knew he was extraordinary and he was different than a lot of the other kids getting on buses that morning. I was scared of the harsh comments and weird stares that may be directed at my boy because he has autism. I cried confused tears because what the heck were we thinking?! Letting him go to school by himself, in a mainstream classroom? Were we making a mistake? Was this the right move? Would he be OK? I’ve done a lot of firsts in my lifetime. First tooth, first drive, first dance, first kiss… But all that is slim to none compared to this first. This was the first time part of my soul was walking around, experiencing new adventures, and I wasn’t there to protect him. I wasn’t there to watch him and let him know it was all going to be OK. He had to process through his day on his own, or at least until he came home. It was seriously the longest day ever. And it was hard. So hard. I want him to do this, but living with open hands is no joke. “Here God, here you go. Here’s my most precious thing and I’m entrusting Him to you because I can’t be there, but you can.” Oh dear Lord, it’s freaking hard. And I have to do this every day?! Part of me wishes he would stay close to home and close to my heart for forever, but I also know he needs to go. He needs to see the world through those amazing blue eyes, innocent and full of wonder. He needs to experience things for himself and learn how to work his way through it all without Mommy or Daddy holding his hand. Because we won’t always be there, and we shouldn’t be. My son David is a strong, independent, amazing boy and just because he has autism doesn’t mean he will not shine and thrive in this new place in life. He was born to shine. He is ready, even if his parents are not. So please be gentle with my boy, kindergarten. You don’t know how lucky you are to have him! Don’t worry about us, parents. We can do this. This letting go thing… I think. It’s just hardest. The real hardest.