When I was pregnant with my first baby we moved to Cleveland, Ohio. I did not know one person and was very lonely. I decided to sign up for a prenatal exercise class. When I arrived there was one other person there.
Her name was Jen.
She had recently moved to the area and was also pregnant with her first baby. We started chatting. Well to be honest,extrovert Jen started talking to introvert Amy.
I am so glad she did!
We have kept that conversation going for 28 years. She is one of my dearest friends.
We have raised kids together, laughed until we cried, and vacationed together.
She wiped tears off my face in a dirty gas station bathroom when I thought I was having a miscarriage.
She drove from Ohio to Michigan to clean my house and cook for me when my dad died suddenly.
I helped her get through her daughter's wedding.
A year later, she helped me get through my son's wedding.
This involved crying about our babies getting married, then laughing really hard. It also required us to consume large amount of sour gummy bears.
We have done life together. I would give her my kidney, tomorrow.
She is the best. I love her.
But there was time in my life when I shut her out. I believed the lie that she would not understand my life.
Parenting a special needs child can be very isolating. I was overwhelmed with the needs of our family. I was trying to help our daughter, keep the rest of the family afloat and survive. The story I was telling myself was I was failing as a mom and no one could possibly understand my life. I assumed everyone was judging me.
The loop of lies running in my head caused me to isolate myself from someone who loves me.
I had shared our struggles with Jen, but she was always quick to give me solutions. Instead of being clear, and telling her I did not want solutions. I assumed she did not understand and decided to tell her less. In her defense, she was trying to help her friend.
I was not clear with what I needed.
We struggled to parent a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder and FASD. The behavior continued to escalate. We made the difficult decision to place her in a therapeutic boarding school. We knew that this was best for our family. But I felt like I was failing our child. I was dreading telling others.
Soon after that, Jen and her family came for a visit. I knew I needed to tell her of our decision. My dear friend had never shown me anything but love and kindness. But the lies that kept running in my head and my mom guilt, made me assume she would judge me.
The power of the lies we believe about ourselves causes us forget what we know to be true.
It skews our perspective.
I remember the day I told her. We were sitting on a park bench on a beautiful Michigan summer day. I started to open up to her about what was happening in our home. I explained why we were making the painful decision to send our child to a treatment facility.
Guess what? My dear friend spoke life giving words of grace, love and compassion. She told me how much she wanted to support me.
She expressed her deep sadness for me.
Tears come when I remember of this moment.
I was trying so hard to fix a situation I could not fix.
I had fallen so deep into a pit of mom guilt.
I allowed those thoughts to isolate me.
I forgot this truth.
She was for me.
She was for the well being of my entire family.
But most of all , she was in my corner.
How had I allowed myself to doubt this?
After that day, I started to breathe. I allowed myself to open up to those in my life.
Maybe you are feeling isolated and overwhelmed by your life. Maybe you think no one else will understand.
Here is what I want you to know.
You are not alone.
Find the one person you can talk to and tell them what you need.
Reaching out to a trusted friend will help you breathe and give you the strength to go on.
If you need help or have any thoughts our questions please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to hear your story.