I had a morning off from the school run today, I need to see my GP so my husband took Liam to school whilst the baby and I are standing in an hour long queue to get an appointment. I should have come about a month ago but again my needs aren’t priority unfortunately, so I’ve most likely done more damage prolonging the visit. Yet another reminder of self care! It’s so important to look after yourself but it’s so hard when you have to break routine. It’s taken about two weeks to decide I should go and a week or so planning how I can go – i'm just lucky it’s not an emergency, it’s just chaos in our house when that happens.
Last week was a rather traumatic one for us as a family, we moved and built a lovely family home just over a year ago now. Liam coped so well, even with the noise and daily sensory overload for him, me being heavily pregnant one minute then being rushed to hospital the next, being missing for 4 days only to return with a newborn- he exceeded our expectations! He formed amazing bonds with my two teenage brothers and my dad as obviously living together completely changed the relationship dynamic.
A couple of weeks ago Grandad left. He coped well on the outside for almost two weeks and then he broke. Outbursting at school, teacher explained how happy they were he has managed to verbalise emotions and feelings yet how challenging he’d been, walking home and he beat my arm repeatedly I ended up with a blue/black wrist and a sprain injury and also I took a few punches to the face, all in sight of his boxing instructor. Liam upon seeing his instructor choose to run away, on a very busy industrial estate. My legs wouldn’t move, I had taken such a beating I think my body went into freeze mode. Why on earth would I choose to save a child who has publicly beaten me up for half an hour? He embarrassed me in front of his boxing coach and has pushed me to an emotional edge where I want to break down and cry in front of a gym full of men! My brain is protecting me and my heart is screaming for Liam to come back, aching that his struggling and furious that at least half of his reaction if not more has been caused by alcohol consumption.
I saw on a support group this week someone raising an issue of alcohol playing a part in school life, for example at summer and winter fetes – I mean what type of fete is it where the good old fashioned drink tombola isn’t available? Can we even call it a fete if it’s absent? This is actually a good point for me, we attended a charity day at the weekend for dogs and the drink stall was water or wine – pick correctly and you’ll get a prize! We all had a go, clearly we all won water and had to give it back, but it hit me what lesson did that just teach my 5 year old son? Does he think that because we didn’t win wine we lost? Will he now ask for wine instead of water at dinner? To open a whole can of worms for myself, I have to now factor in teaching him that alcohol has damaged him, yet we still drink it at home. Do we now go tee-total? Do we take away alcohol and become an alcohol free zone? I won’t lie some weeks like this week, I feel that that glass of wine helps me sleep or unwind.
When will I ever go out, wake up, participate in an activity and just be me? When will my FASD brain get to switch off for my son? When his 18? When his moved out? Or is this me now? Do I need to truly accept and embrace this new part of me, being an adoptive mum to an FASD child? My journey of self discovery will no doubt continue for a long time, or at least for this hour while I write, baby sleeps and I wait for my doctors appointment...
(Ps, Liam’s boxing coach managed to catch him and calm him before my tears erupted so all is well).