Sunday, January 3, 2010

Autism Mom's suffer same kinds of stresses as combat soldiers

When we were in Florida recently, I read an article like this one which talks about Mom's of children with autism and the levels of stress in their daily lives.  They likened it to combat soldiers -- and this really struck me -- we are combat soldiers in a way -- constantly battling behaviours, our schools, society in some cases -- it's never ending.  I often joke with my friends that my experiences battling with our son's public school has left me with post traumatic stress disorder -- but hey, I guess I shouldn't joke -- that is probably EXACTLY what I have!  I highly doubt this condition applies just to Mom's of kids with autism -- any Mom with a child with a developmental disability basically endures this kind of stress on a daily basis.  What I found the most interesting about this article that I've linked to, is the paragraph at the bottom which talks about resilience:

"The new findings also reveal a thread of resilience. Compared to mothers of children without a developmental disability, mothers of children with autism were just as likely to have daily positive interactions, serve as volunteers and lend support to others within their social networks."

In my case this is true -- I wasn't much of a volunteer until Limefreckle Jr. came along, now I'm involved in a Variety Village program in our community that offers a gym program for kids with disabilities, I volunteer at the school, I try to help other parents, especially those with newly diagnosed children, with information about support, advocacy etc. that I have learned over the years -- I'm busier than ever and now is the time I feel the need to volunteer!  I have a great support system, and I like to think that I'm also a support system to those in my "social network".   I'm pretty sure my daily interactions are as positive as the next woman' life is very fulfilling --- I'm enjoying life so much more than when I worked fulltime--- I find this whole role as Mom was one I was built to play.  So maybe constant daily stresses are good for us in some ways, maybe they spur us on to do things we might not have otherwise have had the confidence or the know-how to do.  Whatever the case, this is definitely food for thought!


Gail said...

As the mom of a young woman (24) with developmental disabilities, I share in your PTSD diagnosis. Unfortunately for never ends. For many of us this "mothering" thing never progresses, never matures, never really gets past the early "difficult" years. I applaud your attitude and energy. Steel yourself for the hurdles ahead and always keep your sense of humor - as you probably already know - somedays, its all that gets you through.

Gail (