When we decide to have a baby (whether it’s intentional or accidental) the majority of us hope and pray that our baby will be born perfect. 10 perfect little toes & 10 perfect little fingers, a cute little button nose. When we first get to see and hold our little bundle of joy we make sure that all those things are there, we kiss the little hands and feet and we wrap them up and hold them close and pray that they are healthy. Never once do we think “I hope they are mentally stable”… at least I didn’t. When I had my son I just wished and hoped and prayed that he would just be healthy. I had such a rough pregnancy and almost lost him several times so my only concern was he be alive and healthy. After a very long 23 hours of induced labor I had to have an emergency Cesarean. I still remember the fear gripping me as they wheeled me to the operating room, I even told the nurse that I was about to have an intense panic attack because of it all. She assured me that everything would be okay and helped me to calm down a few short minutes later my 8lb 15oz bundle of all boy was out of my tummy in the world. I just didn’t know then that it would be a world where he wouldn’t fit in.
I’ve blogged about my son before. It’s very very hard to understand what a parent of a child like my goes through, unless you have a child like him. You see, my son was diagnosed at 5 with having severe ADHD, his doctor saying he knew he had it at 3 but couldn’t do anything about it at that age. Before anyone goes on the “You shouldn’t medicate your child you should just be a better parent” kick.. trust me.. I tried everything. I NEVER wanted to medicate him but it became very obvious that he would never survive school without it. He went from barely able to recite his ABC’s and unable to read to being able to read and write within a month of starting his medication. Even though the medication was helping his ADHD he was still struggling and we couldn’t figure out why. He argued over everything, I mean everything! If you told him “Hey, look at that beautiful blue sky baby” he’d say “It’s not blue it green” even though he knew it was blue. He argued simple for the sake of arguing. We were referred to another doctor who diagnosed him as having severe ODD, so severe in fact he stated he’d never seen a case like him and even wrote about him for the American Medical Journal. If you do not know what ODD is, it is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It simple means they argue just to argue. They can’t help it, they just do it. Fast forward a couple of years and they attached yet another label to him. He has OCD traits, not outright OCD but he does have the traits. Now at 16 they are saying they believe he has Aspergers, yet another label. He is struggling so hard trying to find himself and where he belongs. I keep telling him that it will get easier when he gets out of high school, that he will find a place but I do not believe he is believing it.
I have noticed lately that he is showing signs of severe depression and I am at a lost. He’s been in counseling since he was 7, it doesn’t work for him because he doesn’t want to be there so he doesn’t utilize it. He’s not quite yet a man, but he’s no longer a child. I see his world closing in on him because now not only does he not fit in at school, but he’s not fitting in at home anymore either. I see his face and think back to that day in the hospital, when I promised him I would protect him and help him grow and become a great man… and I feel like I’m at a loss because I am not doing my job right, no matter how hard I try. I wish I could afford to send him to a military school or a place that specializes in kids like him, but frankly only the very wealthy can afford those and I can barely pay rent and groceries.
So now I just pray to God that something will click in his head.. something will let him know that everything I do is to help him, not to hurt him. That he will learn that the rules we put in place for him are for his own good, not just to make his life even more difficult. That we try to teach him how to be a productive citizen in this world, to know that how he has been treated is not the right thing and hopefully when he grows up and gets out in the real world he’ll be there to help kids like him. To be a role model. To be the man I know that he can be.