I was having coffee with a friend the other day; she was talking about an experience she recently had with a so-called ‘professional’.
The professional in question this day was her son’s paediatrician.
Her son was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.
The paediatrician she was talking about also happens to be one I have encountered before.
You may see where I am going with this.
Autism is a ‘diagnosable thing’. So is Sensory Processing Disorder. So why is it that so many ‘professionals’ have an issue with this?
In both of our cases it was made crystal clear our sons’ paediatrician did not ‘believe in’ the respective diagnoses. We were both made to feel like ‘bad mums’.
In my case, I was a ‘bad mum’ because Geordie was losing a vast amount of weight, owing to a food obsession. I was told to keep a diary of what he ate and to make an appointment to see a nutritionist in order to learn how to adequately feed my son.
In my friend’s case, she was a ‘bad mum’ because her son was merely naughty and not disciplined enough.
Both of us are also ‘pushy mums’ — and by this I mean we are both fierce advocates for our children and we go with our gut when we know there is an issue. I know I have somewhat of a ‘reputation’ when it comes to sticking up for Geordie; my friend (who is newer to this world than I am, her son being half Geordie’s age) is also developing a reputation.
This is not a bad thing!
If I hadn’t ‘gone with my gut’ (and some wonderful advice from a colleague early on), then I imagine Geordie would not have a diagnosis and our life could very well be quite different now.
As a mother, ‘going with your gut’ often involves saying things, and admitting truths, about your child that no mother should ever have to say. It can be incredibly difficult, not to mention stressful and demoralising. The ‘blame game’ and ‘mother guilt’ both come into full force.
But, it is worth it!
I am, on a daily basis, thankful for the fact I am a strong person.
I am thankful I am relatively well-informed about most things Asperger’s, and have a network of support to keep me going.
I am thankful I was able to stand up to not one, but two so-called medical professionals who insinuated I was both an ‘overprotective mum’ and a ‘bad mum’.
The fight was long and hard, but every day I look at the outcome of this — my gorgeous, maturing, loving son — and I know I did the right thing. I also know the battle is not over, but am confident I will continue supporting and advocating for Geordie in this way.
This is the message I hope I imparted to my friend, who is really only just beginning her fight.
To all who are in similar situations now (and in the furture) — good luck!
Just know it will be worth it!