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  • Writer's pictureJessica Urlichs

Parenting a ND child

Parenting a child who is neurodiverse is rewarding and it’s also downright hard.

I don’t know much about “labels” yet, but I know HIM and right now (and always) that’s all that matters.

I know when he will need the noise canceling headphones.

I know now what events to avoid entirely.

I know when my husband needs to come to a social event because I won’t be able to mind the two of them (though everyone else seems capable) its just not our story.

I know when kindy calls in the morning my work day is out the window.

I know things are black and white for him, there’s no room for grey.

I know that when he is in sensory overload it doesn’t matter who is watching, and that even I won’t be able to help, I know this and it sometimes scares me leaving the house.

But I do it anyway, because when it’s great, it’s amazing.

It’s hard admitting as a parent that sometimes you don’t even know what to do, as his mother shouldn’t I? But I’ve tried it all, read all the books, I still feel lost. Like I’m in the passenger seat watching myself drive and swerve and miss potholes and run out of fuel.

The daily struggles are my norm and while I’ve aged in many wonderful ways because of him, you can see it in my eyes.

I often tell myself, at least he’s healthy (and that’s true) for that I am grateful. I tell myself, he is perfect the way he is and I don’t want to change him, that’s true too.

But I am tired.

As his mother I get the phone calls.

I drop everything to do the unplanned pick ups.

I sit in the storm puddles.

I put myself on hold and I worry his sister gets put on hold a bit too.

Some days the darkness of the tunnel will swallow me with each step and others we’re sitting in the sunlight together. But in one day I make many trips through that tunnel and it’s the emotional roller coaster of it that leaves me feeling numb. I have to remember he’s travelling the same tunnel too.

Most nights my husband and I sit down and sometimes we just don’t want to talk about anything. For me, indignation almost hangs in the air, but I know that’s wrong, so it must be exasperation, of walking on eggshells of loving so hard and worrying in equal parts. I want to stress to these professionals how hard this can be so he gets the support he needs, but I don’t want to do an injustice to just how happy he makes us, how we adore his nature too.

It’s the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and all I want is for him to be ok.

That’s all I want.

But I’m here, I’m holding his hand,

I just have to remind myself he is holding mine back.

Never be too quick to judge a child’s behaviour, you don’t know their story xx

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