As I sit here writing, I reflect what it’s like to raise a child that has experienced trauma and other disabilities combined. Often I think of it as a big jigsaw puzzle, one that you’re working on but never get to see the picture first. So really, you don’t know what the end result will look like.
The more you get to working on the puzzle, the more you realize this is something that will never be done.
Some days you’ll put a few pieces together and think to yourself, “wow look at at that, it all fits together, I’m on a roll”. Only to find the next day, that actually, that piece doesn’t really go there and so you begin again.
Many people will contribute to the puzzle and put lots of time and energy to help put the pieces together or at least make it a bit more clear. But the reality is, everyday is new, the puzzle is new. How things fit together has changed.
Each day is different from the one before. We have times where we think we are making headway and things are becoming settled and then they get triggered, so we start again. Sometimes strategies work like a charm and other times they don’t work at all.
As a parent, seeing your child go through challenges, is hard. I would love to have the solution to helping our child alleviate some of the stresses, confusion and pressure that they feel. I do my best at being their external brain and help them process through their own lives. The experiences they have had are unknown to me, consciously they may not know either. But, the PTSD and trauma are real.
We have many fabulous people in our lives from family, friends and supportive professionals. Even with all of this support, I’ll admit, it’s hard. It’s hard to keep yourself level and not to take things personally. It’s difficult to be above the turmoil and to see past it. It’s hard to see others get drawn into it.
I’m a problem solver and like to fix things. So if there’s a challenge, I’m up for it. I’ll work at things for a long time to try to figure them out. Trauma is not something that can be figured out. It comes out in so many different ways in actions and behaviour. There are days where I feel frustrated, sad, anxious and lonely all in one go. I talk to as many people as I feel can help or have some insight with what’s going on in that moment.
It’s hard for me to give in to the reality of the situation. Realistically, this is going to be their life. It’s going to be an up and down road, a puzzle that’s ever changing.
This is my child.
As a mom, I want to be able to stop the chaos they are going through. I want to be able to erase the experiences that have caused this little person so much stress. I want to stop them from hurting and from hurting others.
Acceptance that this is out of my control is one of my true challenges. I have accepted it as in I realize this is going to be their reality. Some days are better than others. Even though I’ve accepted this, it doesn’t make it easy.
In the meantime, we celebrate. Celebrate the successes as small as they are. I try to keep a record of our little successes as it’s always hard to see these when we are in the middle of turmoil.
When I think of that puzzle and take a look at it, it is put together a bit more than it was last year. I’m working on keeping these successes in the forefront and when times are hard to go back to these. I will admit, it’s a lot easier said than done.