The moment I felt I betrayed my daughter.
Hello Warrior Parents,
I was back on the timeline and I was super hesitant to proceed. WHY? Well, this one is going to be fucking hard!
The first year with my new baby was awesome, she hit all her milestones, she was perfect, she was adorable. My phone was on overload with all the pictures and videos I was taking. My friends and family were ready to barf with all the cute baby posts I was sharing. I literally was in this grateful space unbelieving she was mine. Always going to bed every night thanking God and proclaiming that in return for such a precious gift I would be the best mom I could be. I couldn’t wait for her to do all the things I wasn’t able to do when I was a kid like dance class, gymnastics, etc. But she was only a baby so what could she do? I could barely contain my excitement, trying to enroll in every mommy and me class I could find. But still felt she needed something else.
I became obsessed with her future.
In my obsession to prove her fabulousness, I found one thing she could do as a 5-month-old baby and it was SWIM CLASS! I was obsessed with swimming. We would go every week. At first, my daughter was not a fan. She cried for the whole class 5 weeks straight and I almost quit, then it finally landed for her. That one day where she was splashing and giggling with her instructor.. finally reward! We would religiously attend swim class and I could just see so far into her future Olympic Glory. I had high hopes for anything she would partake in. Maybe she would be valedictorian, maybe she’d be Prom Queen. I was full of expectations. I could not wait to see her climb these mountains of success towards a future with unlimited possibilities.
Where it all changed.
As the age of 15-16 months rolled around, I started to notice a shift. My babbling, adorable, future president of the student body, starting to take on a few habits that were peculiar.
First, she’d obsess about touching geometric shapes/objects. Her little chubby fingers would tap each button on a china closet, dresser, or a pattern on a tile floor, one by one with no real intent behind it.
Then my overachiever who’s the first word was MAP at 9 months old (she loved Dora the Explorer), stopped saying the word Map. She stopped saying Mama, she would make other noises or “word approximations”, but seem to lose the words she first grasped.
Then there were toys, she’d empty every toy box in the room but not play with a single one. She would just twist them in her hands endlessly with no intended purpose behind it. But I didn’t see any of this for the signs of what it was. I saw perfection, I saw a unique girl beating her own drum.
That feeling was only shaken when family members would comment on her lack of language and her odd tapping or toy twisting. I would dismiss them. She’s going to develop in her own time. Then I started to see my happy baby turn into a crying baby all the time. I remember just looking at her, throwing toys, and screaming thinking -“What happened to my happy baby?” After another uncomfortable comment made by another family member, I finally caved to the pressure of having her evaluated by the county.
I called up around the 20-21 month mark, and with the worst attitude told them that family had said they think my daughter should be talking, and I just want to put their concerns to bed once and for all and have her evaluated. As if I didn’t have concerns myself, but I did. I felt like I was betraying her in my mind if I had admitted I was starting to worry now too.
I tried to get help.
They assigned a very sweet bubbly social worker who I found at the time to be BEYOND annoying, but now I’m so grateful she was assigned to us. She came to our home and I had to defend…oh I mean explain that my daughter is just unique and she has language, well she did have language.. see she learns words, then stops using them but she says new words, kind of. Tries to make eye contact but seems to cry a lot. She likes to tap things but I don’t think that’s weird. etc. The Social Worker was explaining that she’s going to send out a speech teacher and psychologist to evaluate Julianna and then we’d take the situation from there.
First up was the Speech Therapist, she rolls into my house with a bag of toys, a cast on her foot, and happy as punch. I’m 2 for 2 with bubbly broads, oh joy! She clumsily sits down on the floor making all types of sounds and Julianna barely acknowledges her. Still, in denial, I am looking at this transaction like it’s some voodoo from another planet. What is she trying to summarize from the squeaking of toys in my kid’s face? Maybe she’s shy, is that so impossible to believe? Within 30 mins of her visit, she was convinced my daughter needed speech therapy 5x a week. What?
I couldn’t accept the diagnosis.
Now mind you, I’m about 7 months pregnant with my 2nd, hormonal, and about ready to strangle this lady. She tells me she’s a sweet child but she should be engaging, she should be making sounds, and it was completely quiet. Well, I was about ready to break her other leg and couldn’t push her out the door fast enough.
I was livid. My mind entered a dark evil vortex I like to call the “Black Hole”. In this headspace nothing is what it seems, everyone and everything is the enemy. I am being attacked and need to defend myself and my cub at all times. These “professionals”, these people make money off of saying my kid is sick when she’s clearly not. Now I have this shit observation and the next one is the psychologist. Well, surely they’re all in cahoots! How are we going to get a fair shake?
Round 2 with the psychologist was less than a week later. But this time I was sure they were both on the take, of course, he concluded that she doesn’t technically qualify for a diagnosis (diagnosis for what!?) but she’s behind so 5x a week Speech, 5x a week Special Ed, and if I feel like things are not progressing call him back in around the age of 2. That’s a joke! As if I’d EVER call anyone to come back in my home and violate us like this again.
And so our merry-go-round visits from strange adults on my living room floor begins.
This was a dark time for me and unfortunately, I could not remotely be excited for the arrival of my 2nd child. I was starting down a very dark path on a roller coaster with no brakes, just waiting to see where and how I crashed. I was angry at the insistence of others telling me to get her evaluated, I was angry at the social worker, the therapists, and boy I was reserving my absolute FUROR for God. AND the kick in the pants is I didn’t even think things could get worse, but they were about to.
This was a long and emotional post for me as if I am reliving this as I write, so I am stopping here. I want you to know where we stand today we are GOOD. Where there is Darkness, there is Light.
Till next time!
P.S. Let’s talk coaching – I’ve provided mentorship, advocacy, and support to local parents of children with Special Needs and I’d like to offer it to my subscribers. If you’re ready to get down to business and work with me directly to help you do what I did, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk.
P.P.S Want to work with me? We start with a no-pressure call where you’ll speak to a team member to see if you are a good fit for our program and get your questions answered. If we both decide it’s a good fit, then you join my results guaranteed program where you will feel confident you are doing everything you can to change the future for your child. Book your call HERE.
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