Sometimes when you are facing challenges while working through something, even if you reeeeeally wanted it, it can be hard to find the silver lining. It can be hard to keep going and to remember why you wanted it in the first place. What would make going through all of the challenges worth it?
Being a mom of 2 definitely comes with its challenges. Being a mom in general is hard work and it has been a big learning curve for me. It’s caused me to realise that I can’t have everything, that my time is no longer my own, and that I need to be more picky with what I choose to do each day so that I can have time with my boys, my husband and still have some me time along with work.
However, with all the challenges that do come with being a mom, I can whole heartedly say that there is nothing more rewarding than my 2 beautiful boys. Each day I think “how could I love them any more?” and every new day my love for them grows. Even on the especially hard days, they always find a way to make me smile and make my heart feel full.
Max is like no other!
Max is my oldest (3 and a half) and he has the most beautiful soul. Our journey so far with Max has been a tough one but with great rewards. 1 year ago on January 6th 2017, Max was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We first noticed that Max had some difficulties, that were the cause of a mental difference, just after age one. Although, once we realized what might be going on, it brought a lot of answers to a lot of questions we had. As Autism is a spectrum disorder, we were unsure of how to tell what challenges and sensitivities might come along with him and what he might grow to learn or not learn.
Max had some typical signs that are looked for with Autism, such as lack of eye contact, very withdrawn and anti-social, non-verbal, and sensory sensitivities. These are just some of the traits that can show. It made it very difficult for us to be social, because if we went anywhere, Max would have a melt down. He was very sensitive with environments that he did not know, such as a persons house. He was 6 months old when we started house hunting, and every time we would step into the front door of a house to look at he would start screaming, then the second we stepped out of the house he would stop. We tried to attend 3 weddings when he was little, and with each one, as soon as there was an applause, that’s it, he was hysterical for the rest of the evening and we would just give up and leave.
Being a toddler now comes with different but scarier challenges. He gets into everything to see what it does. This requires us to have child locks on everything, because if we didn’t and I turned my back for a second he would be trying to do something he saw me do and wants to learn to do it himself, such as sharpen our knives (terrifying I KNOW!) So instead of having them sit nicely on the counter in a knife block, they are hanging out in a locked drawer.
There are also challenges such as him running away or escaping. Yup, had this happen too! I was feeding our 1 month old when Max decided to sneak in the garage, open the door and leave. Thanks to helpful block neighbours, he was safe and sound, but this was by far the scariest thing I have encountered. We now have gates at all the stairs and are implementing an alarm system. But the thing with Max is that he doesn’t know any better. His world is mainly shown to him through vision, he is drawn to things visually, so what he sees that he finds interest in, he wants to explore in that instant and doesn’t yet know the rights and wrongs of it all or understand if he shouldn’t do something. Given that he is behind verbally, we have to find ways of teaching him things from a more visual perspective.
In the beginning of this whole journey with Max’s diagnosis, we didn’t know what to expect. Would he ever talk? Will he learn to love someone? Will he be able to work and live a fairly normal life? We don’t have most of those answers yet, but every new year we see the miracle that Max is. Max has taught me so much in how to be a better mom. He has taught me the importance of learning to relax and go with the flow. He has taught me new ways of looking at things, at life, from a beautifully different perspective.
Through the amazing support our government offers to families of children with autism, we have been able to give Max constant support, new ways of learning things and environments that are helping him blossom into the most incredible person. 1 year ago Max was non-verbal, reserved and very sensitive. Today Max will copy anything anyone says, so we have to be careful of what we say :p. He is so outgoing and vibrant. He loves to laugh and play with others and also loves discovering new environments. And beyond everything he has shown us how incredibly smart he is. At only 3 and a half he is reciting and writing all his letter and numbers, and is learning to spell and read words.
Through all the challenges that we have had with Max due to his Autism, I would not change a thing about him, even that, because it is such a significant part of his personality and his personality is amazing! His incredible silliness and quirks make every day with him so worth it.
Little Josh is my rainbow baby.
Rainbow babies are babies that were born after the mother experienced pregnancy loss. For myself, that meant losing 4. It took 4 heaven babies before our sunny little Josh made his way into this world, and he is a beam of light! I have seriously never known such a happy smiley baby. Every so often that he would let out a cry someone would say “I didn’t know he did that!”
Josh is truly one of a kind. He even has features all his own that we don’t know where they came from, such as a little dimple chin. He is a big boy for his age, which is another surprise as we are all shorties.
When we were going through the pregnancy losses, every time I would get pregnant we would wonder if that would be the one that would stick. We didn’t know if we could have another successful pregnancy, so we found ourselves quietly thinking “how long do we keep trying and how many losses can we handle?” The pregnancy losses took me through a long journey with anxiety , which is a battle in its self. But in the end we were blessed with another beautiful child that made the whole journey worth it. My anxiety even went away as soon as I had conceived Josh. I like to think that it was him working his little sunshiny ways with me right from the beginning along with Gods grace.
Josh is now 5 months old, and is such a different baby from how Max was, which makes each new milestone so exciting! Josh loves people. He loves to interact and talk with everyone. He loves attention so much that even if he can see us seated in front of him, he will try to get our attention so we are looking right at him, and the second we do he lights up with the biggest grin! Josh also loves to be sang to and read to, and especially loves cuddles, which are my favourite.
The only similarity between the two boys is the lack of sleep. This has been the most challenging aspect of being a mom to a new baby. Josh is up every 2 hours which leaves me absolutely drained the next day. Those night waking can be really tough to get through. I am definitely one who needs 8+ hours of sleep each night, so when I am up 5 times through the night, it is in those moments that its easy to fall into the negative mindset and feelings of not being able to make it through. Yet every morning when its time to wake for the day and I look at my little Josh smiling at me, all of the struggle and negativity melts away.
Why The Challenges Are Worth It.
Even with constant learning and daily challenges, choosing to be a mom is the best decision that I have ever made. Through my boys I have been gifted with the opportunity to see life through amazing, playful, imaginative, beautiful little eyes that help me to see the good side of life and remind me of my purpose. They are worth every ounce of effort, every tear wept after a long tiring day, and every piece of me until they are ready to take a hold of their journey in life.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my little family and how they make up such a big part of my life. I would love to hear about your journey through hard times and finding your silver lining. Leave a comment below to share your story with me!