As well as blogging, I share the day to day antics of my unique family and our altered life on social media. Recently, I posted on our facebook page about how hard it was not to be able to rush to Harry when he was having a meltdown at school because I was at work. I explained that the bond that eluded me for so long now defines me and a lovely follower commented that I should stop beating myself up about the past and be proud of where I am today. She was right and I think what didn’t probably come across in the post is that I don’t really beat myself up anymore but those feelings serve as a reminder of all I’ve been through on a journey I never expected. Here is why I can forgive but not forget the pain and lessons of the last 13 years.
It gives me perspective
When Harry is awake at 3am demanding that he bends my fingers back or lies ON me, when he is so clingy that my skin is not my own and he has to be touching me to the point where I feel suffocated I remember the days I wondered if he would ever love me and the dark moments when I doubted my ability to be a good mum for him. And regardless of whether I am exhausted or questioning how much more I can take, I remember that it could be very different and I am so very lucky to have a boy who adores me and a love that completes me.
It reminds me of how far I have come
I doubted myself so much at the beginning. Would I ever learn the very specific language used by all the professionals within the world of special needs? How would I ever become an expert in Harrys conditions? Was I even up to the enormous task of raising a child with complex needs? I look back now at the days when I was absolutely terrified of what lay ahead and felt daunted about the challenges that lay ahead and I feel so proud that I navigated the unfamiliar terrain one day at a time and have accomplished so much for my boy. I have fought for his rights, defended him against those who fear anyone different and found a strength in me I never knew existed.
It helps me to help others
I am contacted from time to time by new mums with altered lives who are in that dark, confusing and all consuming place of guilt, grief and fear that I struggled in for so long. Forgetting those thoughts and emotions means that I am less able to serve the people who need me most. I want to be the person to make a difference somehow, the person I needed when I was so very lost, and so I am more than happy to forgive but not forget all that I went through.
I do forgive myself for all that I blamed myself for at the start. I know I wasn’t to blame for Harrys syndrome or autism. I know I wasn’t a terrible mother and I even forgive the moments I acknowledge I couldn’t be as emotionally available as I would have been now. I was working my way though a quick sand bed of emotions that exhausted me at times but I wouldn’t be the mum I am today without it and I wouldn’t share the incredible bond I have with both of my boys without those periods of quiet evolution.
Yes I have forgiven, but I will never forget and wouldn’t if I could. I owe it to the mother I was, to the mother my boys created and to the mothers finding their own way through their altered lives.
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