Defending my right to rant

I read this article in the Guardian newspaper in which Bibi  Lynch complained about how fed up she was with mothers moaning about how hard their lives are.  She is not a mother and says that insteading of moaning, mothers should be grateful for what they have.  I have every sympathy for the pain she is experiencing at the  prospect of never becoming a mum and  of course as a mother I cannot understand what this must feel like.  Similarly though she cannot know what my life is like and why I feel the need to rant from time to time.

Before I became a mother I saw motherhood through rose tinted lenses.  I imagined myself enjoying  pregnancy, coping with the pains of labour and  breastfeeding with ease.  I looked forward to mother and toddler groups, playgroup parties and getting involved with school events.  I imagined sports days, carol concerts, Christmas plays and having a tear in my eye as I applauded my children’s efforts and I looked forward to childrens parties, playdates and chatting with other mums at the school gates.

The reality has been very different.  My first pregnancy resulted in a traumatic birth, a hemorrhage and a threat to my life and that of my baby.  We survived thanks to fantastic care but I was deeply traumatised for a number of months.  My second pregnancy also resulted in another traumatic birth; again a hemorrhage following a complicated delivery.  After treatment my baby and I recovered but this time the trauma and baby blues didn’t lift and I ended up with post natal depression and exhaustion that rendered me almost incapable of walking very far.  Life should have been wonderful with a toddler daughter and a baby son but it wasn’t – I was ill, my brain was ill, and nothing I could do would lift the misery I was experiencing.  Believe me I tried but PND, like all forms of depression, is a serious and debilitating condition.  I sought medical help and a course of prozac was prescribed and I recovered.   Then I had my third child, my youngest daughter who was induced to prevent the complications I had suffered with my previous children.  With hospital care I had the privilege to enjoy an almost natural birth which I never thought I would ever experience. I felt overjoyed but the joy was shortlived.

Not long after, other more serious challenges emerged.  My eldest daughter was diagnosed with asthma, my son was diagnosed with autism and my youngest daughter was diagnosed with asperger syndrome.  I never expected to become a mum of special needs children but I have and the impact this has had on my life has been enormous.   My dreams of enjoying my children’s participation in school and other events never materialised with my younger children.  They have not being encouraged to be part of the school community.  Instead my son’s autism has been the subject of gossip amongst parents and bullying by other children and my parenting  has been questioned by many.

If that isn’t difficult enough, my son’s mental health problems caused him to become a prisoner in his own home.  The challenges were immense but we succeeded in helping him to recover and to start at a specialist school but after a year he could no longer cope and he is once again back out of school.  As  for my daughter, her experience in mainstream school has been equally difficult and the lack of support has caused her to drop out as she can no longer cope with the anxiety and stress.

As  a result I am trapped at home as a 24/7 carer to two autistic children who have been appallingly treated by the education system.  I cannot work and the few pathetic hours I do a week is hardly worth writing about here.  Sometimes I resent not having a life outside the home; sometimes I resent my  enforced imprisonment and I yearn to have a break but that is only sometimes.

Most of the time I’m happy to do all I can for my children and I do feel privileged to be my children’s mother.  However motherhood is tough, tougher than anything I’ve done in my life so I only think it’s fair that I am allowed to rant occasionally about my situation and how I’ve been treated as a mother which is anything but the “superior citizenship” the author suggests.  Being able to express myself in this way helps me to destress which ultimately helps me to find the  strength to continue to fight for my children’s rights.  Without that opportunity, how much worse would I feel?

By ranting I do not mean to make the lives of those who cannot become mothers worse and in their presence I would of course act sympathetically to them.  But neither do I expect people who don’t understand my life to tell me what I should or should not be feeling.  Of course I feel blessed to be a mother but I also feel deep anguish too.

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13 Responses to Defending my right to rant

  1. You absolutely have a right to rant. We all do. Ironically, I read this article too and was a bit disturbed. I mean I get where she is covering from but she is still full of the idealistic views of motherhood that I think we all hold prior to becoming a mother. I know I sure did.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.” http://www.themommypsychologist.com

  2. Ann Beck says:

    Well said! The author of the piece you read has no right to pass judgement and neither do all those that cast doubt on your parenting. To all of them I say – Never judge someone unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
    Keep ranting – it helps those of us who totally empathise and genuinely understand :)

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks Ann. I think there are a lot of expectations about motherhood being something all fluffy and lovely and it is (at times) but it is also relentlessly hard work. Little is said about how tough it can be especially for mums (and dads) who face extra difficult circumstances. Deb xx

  3. Jazzygal says:

    Very well put Deb and I too defend your right to rant. I do it myself too. Nobody’s life is perfect and we all feel down from time to time, although it can be more than that for some people, and like you say blogging about it helps to de-stress. If they don’t like it they can just hit the ‘next blog’ button. Everyone is entitled to their say. I for one think you’re a brilliant mum….so there!

    xx Jazzy

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks Jazzy – as you say we all have a right to comment and its important that we do so otherwise we’re just not going to get a balanced debate. Deb xx

  4. JuliesMum says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this Deb – I’d just read the article in question and was feeling a bit nonplussed that it was out there published in the Guardian with no (easy) prospect of replying. So it was nice to see someone else’s response.

    I think rose-tinted is the word to apply to the article. Nature does pull a giant trick on us to make motherhood something we feel will make our lives “whole” and “better”. It’s only once you have the children that some of the more unattractive aspects of parenting become obvious – by which time it is too late, and the instinct to mother regardless kicks in. As you say, in your case (and perhaps in mine), this can mean putting up with an unanticipated life of great strain.

    • Aspie in the family says:

      I think you’re right. I think there is a too rosy glow painted of motherhood and though it is overall a hugely satisfying ‘profession’ (do you like the word?) there are challenges as well. For some of us those challenges are totally unexpected and for me, at the moment, absolutely exhausting. Deb xx

  5. Iain M Cooke says:

    I could feel the anguish and the tiredness in your words. Caring and carers are something i come across during my working day and i would love to help everyone of them.The youngest carer i think is around 8 and the oldest in his 90′s. It is disgusting the way this country supports carers and their families. It is 24/7 for the majority and i imagine it might as well be in a prison because there is no escape for the carers…..
    I cannot offer help, just a hug and thanks for what you do.I am sure that your children love and appreciate what you do for them in whatever way that they can. Not all parents keep their children believe me, what you do everyday makes their lives all the better. xxx

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thankyou Ian for your supportive words; I really appreciate it.

      Its shocking isn’t it how care is viewed in this country and how carers are treated. Fortunately technology has been my link to the outside world; without that I’m sure I would feel even more isolated.

      More positively though, as a result of my experiences I have developed a huge respect for all those other carers out there who are perhaps in a more challenging situation than mine. Maybe one day, when (if) life gets easier I shall do some work in this area. Deb

  6. Blue Sky says:

    I adore my kids, but words like ‘trapped’ and ‘resent’ totally resonate with me…I too never expected motherhood to turn out like this. And I was lucky enough with my eldest daughter to know how wonderful motherhood can be, and that makes it harder in ways to cope with the challenges of a younger brother and sister with challenging special needs xx

    • Aspie in the family says:

      I know what you mean Blue Sky. I also had a taste of how wonderful motherhood could b with my eldest only to find that it changed completely when I had my second and then third child. As much as I love my children, I feel very trapped at times. Deb xx

  7. Deb Johnson says:

    Yes, I can relate quite well to your post. Motherhood is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. I have 2 daughters, both of whom have Asperger’s syndrome. I have AS myself, as well. It is very hard to cope as a stay-at-home mum, I know. I haven’t worked in years, and likely will have a hard time finding anything. I worry about my daughters as they grow older. They are both in their pre-teens now. My older one is doing okay at school but the younger one is having an awful time of it.

    It’s okay to rant. Does a person good I think. To get out the angst and see it out there, on the virtual paper. I look forward to reading more of your blog :)

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Hello Deb and welcome to my blog. It looks like we have lot in common and I look forward to sharing thoughts and experiences in future blogs. As for being a stay at home mum, it is hard work and I’m also at the stage at wondering whether I will ever work properly again. I’m trying to be positive about my life and consider other things that I can do in the future but for now my priority is to care for my children and help them back into education. Deb xx

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