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⚠️ Trigger Warning ⚠️ Suicidal Thoughts, PPD

“You’re so strong, such a good mom. God won’t give you more than you can handle. Your baby’s got challenges but you’ve got this! ”

Things I hear or have heard regularly. All fine, with good intentions. But you know what? All I’ve ever wanted was help. All I’ve ever wanted was someone to say “I see you struggling. Let me help.” I’m not asking for the world. I mean small things, like bringing a meal when I was so tired from late nights that I couldn’t find the energy to cook. Coming over and holding my colicky baby and pacing with him for an hour so I could have a break from the screaming and regroup. Any little thing. Even a visit and a hug.

Did I get any of that? No. During his first year of life I not only adjusted to being a new mom again, but I also dealt with TEN MONTHS of incessant crying. As time passed it became more apparent he had special needs, and I mourned my way of life, and any plans big or small we had for him. I became sure I should give him up to more suitable parents, and I even became suicidal because I felt worthless because I couldn’t make him feel better. I felt I was failing as a mother. I was in probly one of the worst mental states of my life. I truly wanted to die.

Felix crying into my shirt around 3-4 months old. Nearly nothing helped soothe him. It would go on for many hours at a time.

Not one person noticed. Not one person reached out. I tried to express myself, but my husband was working very hard to support our “new normal,” and my friends and family vacated. Some of my cries for help were met with jokes. Some of them were met with “oh it will be ok.” And most of them were ignored entirely.

Still today, not one person outside of me and my husband has made any effort to get to know Felix in a way that they could care for him. We haven’t had a real date night in nearly 3 years. Our marriage has been through the ringer because of this. It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far.

And God? I don’t believe in God. If you want to tell me this was all given to me as some sort of sick experiment planned by an invisible man in the sky, please just keep that to yourself.

The fact is, this isn’t fair. Felix didn’t deserve to have all these troubles. He didn’t deserve to be unable to walk, talk, eat properly, process speech or emotions or his senses the way he should be able to… when he will be 3 in a couple months. He didn’t deserve to have belly and sensory issues so severe in his first year that all he could do is scream frantically trying to tell us something was wrong, with no relief. He didn’t deserve to have a mom who was utterly alone and often frustrated and ready to give up on life because she couldn’t help his helpless little hurting soul. He didn’t deserve any of it.

For nearly a year, wrapping Felix tight up against me was one of the only ways to get the crying to stop. I couldn’t sit or relax, I had to stay in motion. I was TIRED.

All I’ve ever wanted as a mom is for my kids to have FAMILY, and to be happy and healthy and to know they are loved, and to have every opportunity to thrive. And though I’ve done the best I can do on my own, I still can’t help but feel I’ve failed left and right.

And I’m still mostly alone. My husband is not working as much now, and it’s amazing to have his help as I expected to have before. I absolutely love the relationship he and Felix have. But again, still no one else stepped up. It’s just me, him and Felix. No one noticed. No one cared.

But we made it. I adapted. I’m no longer suicidal. I’m no longer sad or upset. I adore Felix. I just learned I can’t depend on anyone to help ME when I need it, especially when I need it most. I’m actually looking into hiring skilled respite care for date nights and much-needed breaks when I become overwhelmed. That way I can reduce my own stress levels to be the best mom I can for Felix. Hopefully we can find the right person, or people, that can see and understand what Felix is all about, and who can build a good relationship with him for their visits. He needs a good team. They can be our extended family, in a way.

Felix playing with his dads phone after lunch, while eating out. And me, peeking around him. Lol. Just for fun. Life is better now. 💖

A Felix Update

As of this month, September, we FINALLY have all our services on track for Felix back here in Iowa. It feels like it took forever, but we’re finally there!

• He has been evaluated and approved for physical therapy and speech therapy. He started PT this week, twice per week. The therapies will be done in “shifts,” such as a couple months of one, then a couple months of another. So he’s not overwhelmed with everything at once.

• He has an occupational therapy evaluation later this month, for which he will also be approved.

• I have the AEA/Early Access (Area Education Agency) involved, also helping with therapies at home, including feeding therapy, and eventually getting him evaluated and set up with an IEP for school.

• He will be eligible for preschool in February when he turns 3, but Jarrod and I are thinking he will start with the next school year in September 2022 instead. We want to give him more of a chance to gain more skills in his therapies first, since there’s been such a disruption due to our move.

He saw his developmental specialist yesterday, and he got a bunch of referrals for more testing:

• He has a sacral dimple that will be imaged to make sure it’s not affecting the function of his spinal cord.

• He will be getting another eye exam because I’m truly convinced he has issues with distance, still.

• He is going to get a swallow study done because his inability to chew and swallow properly is getting in the way of his ability to properly learn to feed himself.

• And finally, he has an appointment for genetic testing and counseling early next year (long wait on that one, it was scheduled in April).

Also with the appointment yesterday came a new diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was bittersweet for me, because I have suspected this from the moment Felix came home from the hospital at birth. With the diagnosis I felt heard and confirmed. But the flip side of that… all the hope I had that he could grow and develop and come out of his delays has now been crushed. This is a permanent state for Felix. I’m not scared or intimidated by this diagnosis. I just know it’s going to be a lot of work. Then again it already has been. We’ve all adjusted to the therapy and appointment schedule. We already know tests will keep coming until we find answers.

The specialist said ASD is secondary to the real issue, and he believes the genetic testing will hold the real answer. Personally, my only concern in the genetic realm is finding something degenerative. That’s my fear. But I’m hoping for the best, and we will cross whatever bridge is laid in front of us when we get to it.

No matter what, this little boy is a blessing. I couldn’t ask for a better toddler. He’s sweet and cuddly, curious and strong, determined and stubborn. He’s growing and learning on his own time, and that’s perfectly okay. I love him unconditionally.