Life is hard enough.
WHen you have a child, you know intellectually that they will struggle with things in life. You know there’ll be struggles with controlling their body, controlling their words, controlling their emotions, controlling their environment…. the “usual” struggles of growth. You expect that.
Then you have a child who has some other kind of struggle. Maybe its language, or muscle control, or social interaction or emotions or behavior… doesn’t matter really. You see this and you hope, you really hope, it isn’t “true” – that you’re just seeing a phase or maybe your child just has a weakness in that area. No big deal, really, right? Just try a little harder, find a way to help them work through it, right?
But it doesn’t help. The struggle doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. Slowly, you start to acknowledge that this struggle may be more than just a weakness… it might be something more permanent.
Of course you hope again that you are wrong. That its something temporary.. something medically induced, let’s say, that can be dealt with in a systematic manner and “cured”.
So you go to doctors, you do some research and you figure you’re going to “beat this thing”. But somewhere along the way, in the visits to experts and the research, you come across what you know, in your bones, is the real answer. You stumble across it or someone mentions it in passing or you suddenly catch a glimpse of it through your child mirroring a relative with this issue. And you know, really deep inside you, that this is it. Your “answer”. And its not temporary. Its not “curable”.
Again, you hope you’re wrong. You probably dismiss it almost instantly. Banish the knowledge, the surity, the instant clarity of understanding that this “answer” brought you. You do that quickly because you feel like if you give that “answer” any time, any energy, any attention, it will stick. As if your believing in its possibility, its existence within your child will somehow make things worse.
In a way, it does make it worse. Because you do two things: you look for any indication that you are wrong AND you look for any indication that you are right. Now you are the one who’s struggling. Because you want it to be the answer, in a way, but you also don’t like that answer. You want to have AN answer, but you wish to high hell it wasn’t THAT answer.
So you eventually decide to pursue that answer. You go again to doctors, therapists, experts all and ask them point-blank “maybe its ___?”
Most doctors will put you off, at first. Its not common for children to have these conditions and show them so young, or its not usual for children with _____ to display it in this particular way. Doctors, you see, don’t want to be wrong about this kind of thing any more than you want to be right. Nobody, even a doctor, wants to tell a parent there’s a permanent problem with their child.
Eventually some expert tells you straight up what the deal is. It might not even be exactly what you suspected. But its more than likely to be pretty damned close, or else one of those rare weird issues that often masquerades as something else.
That’s the moment… the moment you hear “the news” and you know without a doubt that its the real thing. And you break, somehow. You cry, you get angry, you shut down, you deny… some parents have been known to get violent. Because all that fear, anxiety and pent-up emotion of every type has now found there is no more screen to hide behind. No more “well maybe…”. Now its’ real and you have to quit worrying about what it is and start worrying about how to deal with it.
Because, here’s the sad funny part. When you were struggling so mightily over “what is the problem?” you weren’t thinking at all what you would do if it were the problem you thought it was. Its weird how you realize that you spent so much time being afraid and upset about the possibility of the problem that you actually didn’t spend hardly any energy planning to deal with it.