10 years of life or Happy Birthday Son!
It’s 10pm and the pain has started, I take a bath, submerge in water with lavender oil, close my eyes and try to relax. My heart is pounding like crazy: it’s today, finally I’ll get to meet you. Nine long months of waiting are coming to an end. Lavender oil isn’t helping, the candle is driving me crazy, the pain is getting stronger, I get out of water!!!
Quick phone call to the hospital; we’re coming!
The contractions are getting stronger and stronger, it hurts, it hurts like hell. I’m sitting on a birthing ball, rocking forward and backward like a lunatic, I have no idea how to help my aching body. I’m trying to be calm, I’m trying to breathe like they thought me at the birthing school. I’m hoping that this damn breathing will help!
It’s not helping! I slide off the ball to the floor asking your dad for a massage, a moment later I don’t want him to touch me anymore.
I’m screaming, screaming inside because I’m still trying to be brave and calm, I feel like I’m going to throw up. I clench my teeth, squeezing your dad’s hand really, really hard, just a bit more, I think, I can do it!!!
I want the anaesthetic, I scream at the top of my lungs, a moment later my salvation comes, my knight in a white gown; the ANAESTHESIOLOGIST!!!
There’s no more pain, what a wonderful invention this epidural … I feel like I could even catch up on all the ironing piling up for the last two weeks.
After a little while the midwife comes in to check the progress and dilation. Full dilation, we can start, she says. I can feel tingling in my legs, it’s a sign that the epidural is slowly letting go, I catch her hand and with enormous fear in my eyes I say I need another dose of the painkiller or I’ll not be able to give birth.
She looks at me with her calm eyes, strokes my head, we’re going to be just fine, she says, sending me the warmest smile.
I MADE IT!!
Happy birthday, son, I whisper staring at you all wrapped up in your blanket like a warm burrito.
Your eyes meet mine and I fall head over heels in love with you.
This warm feeling of love fills every bit of me and I know that from this day my heart lives here next to me.
The two first years of motherhood were a tough school of life for me. I had not suspected how strong and patient I can be until I became a mum. On top of normal motherly tiredness, I also felt strong anxiety. When I observed how you were developing and playing with other children, my motherly instinct was telling me something was not right. Despite lots of doors shut in my face, lots of attempts to sweep the problem under the rug, I did not give up, I kept searching.
Everything sped up when you went to nursery. Thanks to the awesome people I had great pleasure to work with, you were very quickly diagnosed: autism.
I felt relieved, I wasn’t going crazy, others could see what I was seeing, now we would be able to help you.
Early intervention is key to success
We’ll get down to work, it’s going to be hard but we will cure you and you will be like others, you will be “normal”.
I’m sorry son, I’m sorry for those words but 10 years ago this was exactly how I was thinking. I was one of those people. One of those people who were afraid of everything, afraid of the otherness. I really wanted you to be like everyone else, think like everyone else, talk like everyone else.
It’s not because I wanted to destroy who you were but because I wanted to protect you from this evil cruel world.
People react differently to otherness, with emotions, often negative ones, I didn’t want that for you, I didn’t want you to suffer from rejection or intolerance. I didn’t want people calling you a weirdo.
There were nights when I cried praying, not because God gave you to me, but because I didn’t feel strong enough to handle this challenge.
Every morning, however, I got up stronger, more determined and ready for whatever the day would throw my way.
It is thanks to you, my son, that I am a better person today. It is thanks to you that I am more humble and more empathetic towards others. It is thanks to you, my son, that I found meaning in life. Today I know that I don’t want you to be like everyone else, talk like everyone else, live like everyone else. I want you to be yourself, I want you to live with your head raised high. I want you to be proud of how wonderful, kind and smart boy you are.
Come closer, son, I want to whisper something in your ear;
Every day I thank God that he chose me to be your mum.
Happy 10th birthday Oli, don’t change ever.
I love you