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to think being the parent of Additional Needs child changes you?

(9 Posts)
Owlofathens Wed 13-Jun-18 12:04:05

I look in the mirror and I am utterly different from the woman I was “before.” My friends don’t recognise me either and are sympathetic to a point but I can also tell they think I’ve let myself go. But it’s bound to change you, right?

Sirzy Wed 13-Jun-18 12:07:05

It does but I don’t always think that is a bad thing. For me it has certainly made me much more assertive. It has also helped me know exactly who is there and means it when they say they are there!

RocknRolla Wed 13-Jun-18 12:09:39

It definitely does. Some mornings I struggle to get out of bed my dd was diagnosed with autism in December and since then I feel like everything’s a fight. It’s a constant battle to get her any support at school and when they do give support it lasts for a week or two then it’s another fight to get it. You don’t have the time to care for yourself because all your time is spent on trying to deal with their needs.

TheFrenchLieutenantsMonkey Wed 13-Jun-18 12:10:02

I totally agree. In some ways i am so much more than I was before, in others I feel like I've got lost somewhere in the positive behaviour, meltdown managing, educational fighting quagmire. I love my children but its hard to remember the person you used to be.

Owlofathens Wed 13-Jun-18 12:13:48

Glad I’m not alone! Yes, I’m absolutely a better person for the journey we are on, I just didn’t expect to lose people on the way because I’ve sort of changed tribe somehow.

Owlofathens Wed 13-Jun-18 12:16:24

I’ve also started to realise who are Good People and who were no more than drinking buddies really. I used to be always swishy pony-tail and tanned but now I barely look in the mirror. Some of my old tribe have taken this almost as a personal affront because it’s demonstrably clear that my values have shifted so much. It makes me sad all the same.

Piffle11 Wed 13-Jun-18 12:29:54

I certainly don't look any different to how I used to, but internally I think I've changed massively. I now have hardly any tolerance for a lot of the bullshit my DParents spout, whereas in the past I would let them get away with stuff I didn't agree with, or ignore stuff that upset or hurt me. It's like I now don't have the time to consider tip toeing around them, as I'm always knackered as DS (severe ASD) hardly sleeps. I was raised to be a people pleaser, but now it's like a switch has been flicked: I don't say mean or nasty things, but I'm more truthful and direct. It's caused problems with DParents and MIL but I really don't have the time or the inclination to care.

BiddyPop Wed 13-Jun-18 12:51:29

I've managed to become much calmer - I was always a bit organized but now I am very organized and aim for calmness in the house and also how I deal with DD.

I've also learned that I can stand up for things when I need to (usually on her behalf rather than mine).

And I have learned, some years down the road, that actually, I can accomplish quite a lot when I set my mind to it, so I can still do things myself if I just have a plan for it to work out. And that I can still have the flexibility I need, as long as I make a contingency plan ahead of time (think about each event, work out pressure points, and how to deal with those) and also how to adapt to things changing "on the fly" by knowing what is happening and routes and options ahead of time.

Which has proven useful for things not related to DD at times (such as when the snow cancelled my connecting flight through Heathrow a couple of months back - I knew who to get in touch with and how to make sure I got home, as well as alerting people quickly to the problem in case they needed to change things - and managed to get home only a couple of hours later as I was quick enough to get one of a few spare seats on a flight just a little later rather than having to stay overnight and connect the following day). And it also means I've learned that the direct route is not always the best (for anything not just for travel) - so to make things work for me, I now am happy to look at options that may involve going sideways or 2 flights or a plane and a train - but arriving at a reasonable hour rather than arriving late at night and not getting dinner and having a really bad sleep somewhere.

And yes, yes, yes about who is supportive and who is just a "fair weather friend" (or family member).

Owlofathens Wed 13-Jun-18 13:45:09

Yes yes to being more straightforward and yet kinder! It’s also made me aware of how smug SO many people are because they live in a universe which is parallel to mine. One where if you are successful then that’s because you deserve it and if you’re poor or don’t have a fulfilling home and hobby, it’s cos you just didn’t try hard enough.

In fact, in the early days, I was roundly told off by the School secretary for being late. That morning I had dealt with poo smearing, biting, and incessant screaming on top of broken sleep. She saw fit to tell me I should try harder. I remember growling that if she knew what I had dealt with that morning, she would be ashamed about how she was speaking to me.

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