When we know we have to start preparing for parenthood, we wonder if we will be up to the challenge ahead. And that’s if our children are “normal” – i.e. neuro typical. The early years are exhausting, as all parents know. Existing on chunks of sleep of 3 hours or so is wearing, but you learn to cope with it. When Jane was pregnant with Daniel, she was shattered and poorly. Constant sickness led to her being hospitalised with severe dehydration (practice nurse said go home and put your feet up for a week! Next day J was hospitalised by a GP) – all when Matthew wasn’t even 18 months old.
But the shock of learning you have a child with autism, those challenges already faced suddenly multiply. But was Jane fazed? Like me, a bit initially, but when that shock wore off, she was amazing. Keeping coping with a child who had severe separation anxiety at ante pre-school nursery meant she often had to stay with Matthew for the session, having to leave Daniel with her mum. But, these obstacles were overcome, and in between times, she read as much as she could online about autism.
When Daniel started showing symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as aspergers, Jane continued to cope with Matthew, Daniel, washing, cleaning, cooking every day while I had the luxury of being able to get out to work. At least I was able to get away from it for a while, but Jane had no such luxury. The boys and I do try to let her have a lie-in on a Saturday, and I’ll take the boys over to my mum’s on most Sundays to give her a few hours to do her competitions, sit at the computer (have a look at her blog on it all at http://basijas2013.wordpress.com) , and have a soak in the bath.
Life is still hectic for Jane, but both boys are at school now. Daniel stays for lunch daily, and Matthew stays on Tuesday and Friday, so when my working from home day falls on one of those days, I take a long lunch, and we get out for lunch at local restaurants. It makes us feel that little but more human. When I’ve a day off on those days, its off into town for the day so Jane can relax a bit more.
Autism can be tough to deal with, and we are lucky that Matthew and Daniel present towards the mild end of the spectrum. But Jane could have let autism conquer her. But her amazing spirit has meant that it is the boys’ Supermum that has conquered autism.