Friday, 24 February 2017

Deja vu- The Journey of Finding Yourself - Again?

We are all familiar with those classic coming to age stories. Teenagers go on a journey and "find themselves" though a series of misadventures.  These misadventures help define who they will become and, by the end, the characters have obtained a self identity and a purpose or direction.  No longer will they wonder aimlessly through life, they have gain enough experience to navigate this world, confident in their steps.  

Classic example- Stand By Me 1986


I thought I had finished my journey, that I'd already paid my dues.  I had my coming of age story played out during my late teens/early twenties and I was confident in who I was, what I believed and in which direction I was headed.

Well educated, happily married, career focused and a child to love.

Then life throws you for a loop.

After our second son was born, my self identity drastically changed.  Yes I had identified as being a mom already and it was a large part of who I was, but it wasn't the only part.  

The erosion started slowly.   

I stopped hanging out with friends.  Gideon needed me 24/7.  He wouldn't eat or calm for anyone else.  We had to cancel get together due to illnesses and we didn't take day trips on the weekend anymore.  My leisure activities dwindled as I was left with less free time for myself.  Gideon had sensory issues and was not able to tolerate going outside for more than a couple of minutes.  He would gag/puke with a breeze or if the air was too cold.  I was reduced  to tv watching and googling medical terms.  The appointments and hospital admissions were exhaustive and it soon became clear that I would have to put my career on hold to make sure Gideon would have the best start in life.  

After 2 years of this, my identity has been almost completely consumed/defined as a mother, a caretaker, a homemaker, and a struggling wife.  And the funny thing is, it sometimes feels like I'm failing in these, as restricted and limiting a definition as they are.  The laundry is always backlogged, I feel like Alexander is getting shafted when it comes to attention, and I feel under pressure to get all of Gideon's goals meet, which seem impossible when he has so many: Feeding goals, speech goals, physio goals, sensory goals, vision goals, social goals on top of medical demands.  I'm not saying I don't enjoy being a mom.  I love my children immensely!  I wouldn't give up my children for the world.   The thing is though, EVERYTHING in my world revolves around my children, and I don't think that is balanced or healthy.  

Now I find myself taking a breath. 

I want to identify myself as a woman, a wife, a friend, a family member, a creative mind, a traveler, a musician, an advocate, a person who makes amazing homecooked meals.  I want to be someone who dances to music and smiles more often.  I want to be hygienic and hairless.  I want to feel whole and spiritual.

The second coming of age journey needs to begin.  

Did you feel like your self identity slipped after you had a child with special needs?

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