The Other Mother

September 23, 2008 at 8:41 pm 41 comments

          She watches mothers, constantly, and is fascinated by their sheer volume. She wonders if she will ever take up that much space again? She feels smaller than she used to, less a presence in the outside world, but more a presence in her own home. She feels dependent; on schedules, routines, the refrigerator, her child’s mood. She feels depended on for sheer life. She wonders what would happen if she were no longer here, and she worries about it. She knows kids can survive without mothers, but what about these kids? What about her kid? She wants to download all the information about her child from her brain to something else – just in case.

     She watches mothers, on the playground, at the grocery store, and at school, wondering if they are even aware of mothers like her. What must their lives be like? She pictures their households, and pictures an easy life. Not easy as in simple, but easy as in normal. Are those mothers blissfully unaware of mothers like her? She reminds herself not to judge her insides by someone else’s outsides (she read that somewhere), but she can’t help but wonder what that normalcy must be like. Not normal in terms of her child being not normal, but normal in terms of just being a typical, average family. She gets lost sometimes in the added layers of complication of their lives; the trying to find the after-school activity that promises the largest chance of success for her child, the hope of her child finding a playmate that might become a real friend.

     She watches mothers, and she reminds herself she wouldn’t change one thing about her child (he is perfect) save the chance to make things easier for him. It’s not that she doesn’t want him to learn the tough lessons, but rather that she wishes he didn’t have to learn so many of them. Where’s the equity? Why do these kids, already challenged, have to be challenged so much more? That’s what makes her cry.

     She watches mothers, with a feeling she can’t quite describe building in her heart. It’s not envy, judgment, anger, self-pity or sadness. It’s distance. She feels on the fringe. She feels like her son.

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Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

Someone special It’s over

41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. looksgoodinpolkadots  |  September 23, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Before our “results” where in, I shared this thought process. Now that our results are in, I FEEL this with every fiber of my being. I look at the Mom’s at soccer games who don’t have to pack a separate snack for their children, who look at their “normal” lives and “average” kids and cannot understand WHY, WHAT or HOW our world works.

    I needed these words today. Thanks D!

    -Jamie

    I wish I could tell you that goes away, but for me it hasn’t so far. It’s better, but sometimes it just slaps you in the face. Of course it doesn’t help that we keep moving all the time, which makes it hard to gather circles of friends, but it’s more than that. These things can be so isolating for parents, and it’s hard stuff! But I also think all of us special parents out there are built to handle it. You included. 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. mama mara  |  September 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    But she’s not really on the fringe, at a distance, on her own. Because she is one amazing blogmama, with lots of other mamas just like her nodding their heads vigorously and saying, “Yeah. Me too.”

    Me too.

    I don’t think there’s anything much more powerful than the “me too,” quite frankly. There’s nothing like it in the world, and reminds me I am not alone. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 3. FXSmom  |  September 24, 2008 at 11:00 am

    mama mara said it perfectly!

    Thanks, friend!

    Reply
  • 4. mommy~dearest  |  September 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Absolutely. Big love to you from the moms who aren’t “blissfully unaware”, but “know”. 😉

    That’s why I love you guys – you are blissfully AWARE! And painfully aware. And joyously aware. And everything in between. It’s so nice to have people who understand exactly what I’m talking about!

    Reply
  • 5. embracingspirit  |  September 24, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Beautifully written…..and yeah, I have been there many times along side you…

    I know – all of us special needs sisters are bonded for life. Just wish we could all be friends in real life! We need to set up a little utopian community or something where we could all live together and help each other out…

    Reply
  • 6. Static Mom  |  September 24, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Well said 🙂

    Thank YOU. And thanks for visiting!

    Reply
  • 7. robinaltman  |  September 25, 2008 at 10:45 am

    That was so poignant. I sort of feel silly for writing about makeup which talks to me.
    D, you’ll never be alone, because you are so lovely and articulate, and able to describe your experiences for those of us who don’t share them. After I read you blog, I feel like I have a touch more understanding, and maybe I can use it to help people myself.

    Hmmm…guess I need to go check in on you! You left me laughing with the “fall of the good son” yesterday, so I’m sure the make-up is good too. I just wish it would talk to ME some more! LOL! Make-up and I are not friends.

    And I appreciate your words. Given your field and given your perspective, and well, just given YOU, it always means a lot to me to hear your opinion. And of course I especially appreciate it when it’s a favorable one. 😉

    Reply
  • 8. LoisR  |  September 25, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    You are such a special mom…and you are C’s mom for that very reason.

    Thank you, Mrs. R! I can’t imagine having any other child but him.

    Reply
  • 9. goodmum  |  September 25, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    This is a beautifully written post. BEAUTIFUL. You have expressed so much of what I, myself, am feeling. The feeling like you’re almost invisible. The fact that you want to download all the data about C from your head and into a secondary source: that’s so true! This truly was a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing your boy AND your heart with us, Darcy.

    Yes, absolutely invisible sometimes! I know we all feel that, and I knew all of you would know exactly what I was talking about. Thanks for the very kind words! 🙂

    Reply
  • 10. Goldie  |  September 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Wow. Just wow. Isn’t it amazing that you can write about feeling “separate”, but so many of us share that separateness. and therefore, strangely, we are NOT. Don’t you wish we could all get together for reals?
    You spoke so much of what I have felt. There have been times when I am at the playground WITH friends and still feel alone b/c I cannot relax and talk, b/c my sons take ALL my attention.

    You said, “Not easy as in simple, but easy as in normal.”
    Yeah, I know normal is also hard, but I also wonder if it would be easier. But hey, my life is “not boring”! (a little catchphrase my Dad created)

    Oh, now I get the logged in thing! LOL! And yes, it is weird to write about the separation when there are so many of us. I just wish we had more numbers, you know? I have two or three friends here with kids with ASD, but it’s not enough. Ooooh, and I know what you mean about the playground. It’s just recently I’ve come down OFF the playground equipment and taken a seat with the grownups, but I’m still watching all the time. I feel like I’ve become that irritating woman on the phone who is yelling at her kids while you’re having a conversation with her and you wonder if she’s even listening….lol!

    Reply
  • 11. robinaltman  |  September 26, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Hey – Can I join the utopian community when you guys build it? I’m listening to the presidential debates right now, and I think we could run the world way better than these guys. (Although I do like Obama, and he just had a really good diss for McCain. I laughed out loud.)

    I’m impressed anyone could even watch the debates. I am so tired of the bickering and half-truths. I think candidates should only be allowed to talk about themselves, not each other. Wouldn’t that be interesting??? I think I got worn out during the primaries and am now suffering from election fatigue. So I’m bad, I didn’t watch, probably should, but just can’t TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! And yes, you’re right, I think we could do it better. Perhaps we should start our own country. Forget community, let’s go straight for the biggie! 😉

    Reply
  • 12. Goldie  |  September 27, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Okay, I am not a stalker… I am just commenting again but this time LOGGED IN so I have a link to this post in WP… because I liked it so much…

    Thank you! I’m not even sure exactly what you said (about being logged in and having a link in WP) because I am so tech UNSAVVY, but I think it’s good. LOL! I’m so clueless…

    Reply
  • 13. mama mara  |  September 27, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Guess what? I think you are so great that I done gave you a blog award today! Come see, come see! Hope it will send lots more bloggy friends your way, and you’ll never feel like an other-mother again.

    Cool! I need to go look! Thank you, I am truly honored!!! 🙂 If only all of y’all online friends could be IRL friends. Think of the fun we would have!!! We could travel in a pack!

    Reply
  • 14. Kathie  |  September 27, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    very well written, as usual! It’s funny…while I am right there with you, I am also the “other”mom when I am out with my other two kids. It’s like being two people, very confusing! But, like you said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, except to make my son’s life easier.

    Kathie
    :

    That would be strange. I’ve often wondered if I would know what to do with a “typical” child. I think there’s probably entire developmental steps I don’t even know about!! LOL! I don’t know if it would make me more sad that C struggles so or even more appreciative when he does something. It must be interesting for you.

    Reply
  • 15. tiredmama  |  September 27, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I’m there too. Thanks for speaking my words for me.

    You’re welcome. 🙂 I knew you guys would understand exactly how I feel. It’s good to be reminded we’re not alone sometimes.

    Reply
  • 16. Little Pieces of My Heart « Shrink Rap  |  September 28, 2008 at 7:42 am

    […] caring mom of a high functioning child with Asperger’s, named D.  She wrote a post called The Other Mother, which has been haunting me for days.  This post describes the isolation she feels from other moms […]

    Reply
  • 17. Angie  |  September 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Hey friend…so beautifully written. I often think of you and C when I’m having a “mommy moment.” It is surprising that we share so many similar concerns and yet I know that your mommydom is just a wee bit more complicated. You have definitely made me more aware of other’s situations so I hope that when I meet The Other Mother I can be a true friend to her.

    Well, you are MY true friend, although it would be nice if you lived a little closer… 😉

    Reply
  • 18. msloe  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I’m a School Psychologist in training and your words remind me that not only will I be working with special needs students every day, but their loving families who want the very best for them. Because of your words, another professional has been reminded to see you and appreciate you for all you do to raise up your wonderful child.

    Wow, thank you! Thank you for visiting, and good luck with your training. It’s a hard job, I’m sure, but so many of us are terribly grateful there are people like you in the trenches with our kids.

    Reply
  • 19. tiredmama  |  September 29, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Hope you don’t mind. I would like to put this post on my blog because it is so insightful and beautifully written.

    Of course I don’t mind! I’m very flattered. Thank you very much, friend.

    Reply
  • 20. kristi  |  September 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

    This post could have been written by me. I have gone through so many struggles with my OWN family members who just don’t get it. It is exhausting.

    It is – I think we expect family members to get it even more and when they don’t it’s particularly heartbreaking. I had a dear friend who was a speech therapist who made a comment one day about C not having “real” autism, and it cut me far deeper than if anyone else had said it – I expected her to know better. “Exhuasting” is the exact word for it. HUGS!

    Reply
  • 21. hopeauthority  |  October 3, 2008 at 7:12 am

    I actually saw this post first on tired mama’s site and was blown away. Had to come over here and let you know. Now I see all the great replies here and it warms my heart again…just knowing that we have this great blog community as an outlet and a source of support, especially when we feel invisible.

    Your words could have poured right out of my heart. Thanks so much.

    I will never forget this post.

    Thank YOU for those very kind words. It’s so nice to find people who understand!

    Reply
  • 22. Guttu  |  October 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Nice way. I feel everyday is mother’s day. And this was just another.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 23. Andrea  |  October 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I came here from Blog Catalog. I’m not sure what I can say that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll just simply say this: I love this post.

    Thank you very much for the kind words, and thanks for visiting!

    Reply
  • 24. robin  |  October 10, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Beautiful! Very touching.

    Reply
  • 25. compassion for autism « Not Finished Yet  |  October 31, 2008 at 11:22 am

    […] that parents of children with autism still have for their children, love so beautifully exemplified in this post, I am … in awe.  God has truly blessed these children with loving, caring parents.  And I […]

    Reply
  • 26. compassion for autism « Not Finished Yet  |  October 31, 2008 at 11:22 am

    […] that parents of children with autism still have for their children, love so beautifully exemplified in this post, I am … in awe.  God has truly blessed these children with loving, caring parents.  And I […]

    Reply
  • 27. therocchronicles  |  November 19, 2008 at 8:32 am

    This is so beautifully written – it brings tears to my eyes.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to share this on my blog. I couldn’t have said it any better and I think my friends and family will get a better understanding of the isolation we Autism Mommies feel.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Absolutely feel free to share it! It’s been a powerful piece for me too because it’s just so real, as you know. Thanks so much for the compliment. 🙂

    Reply
  • 28. Chrisy  |  February 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I can not stop reading it.

    Reply
  • 29. fiona2107  |  June 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    This is such an amazing piece of writing!
    Would it be ok if I linked to this at some stage? I know a lot of mothers like us that would benefit from reading this too ?
    x

    Reply
  • 30. A Really Good Read. « Welcome to the mad house  |  June 21, 2010 at 5:54 am

    […] Really Good Read. This post by “What we need“  blog literally had me in […]

    Reply
  • 31. HeatherH  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I’m not a mother at all – in either category – but WOW. I think you all do a tremendous ‘job’. Very inspiring and there are those of us on the other side of the fence who see a little bit of how it is for you. Probably not all of it, but a part of it and I for one, think you’re great for persevering, and for taking the time to learn more about how to help your kids rather than letting them drift through life.

    Reply
  • 32. @jencull (Jen)  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:10 am

    My feeling exactly but I could never have put it into words that way, so perfectly. Thank you. Jen.

    Reply
  • 33. Rach  |  June 21, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Very Honest, very well written and very true. I think all mothers, whether they have different kids, feel that way one day, in some way we are all the same, we all carry the same guilt, not being there at the rights time, not saying the right thing.

    In a small way everyday, we can all find something in common, that’s what makes us women, a community who live, love and support everyday and we are a force to be reckoned with in this world.

    Reply
  • 34. Dearna  |  June 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Gosh, you have written exactly what I feel.

    Reply
  • 35. metalmommy  |  June 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Oh, how I’ve had this experience. How the Other Mothers all seem connected because they know each other from chit-chatting at soccer, hockey, football games. How I often feel just as disconnected as my child because he would never play soccer, hockey or football. When your child is disconnected, so are you. They are your life, and you are theirs.

    But right now, that’s okay. I hope someday it will be different, but I know I’ll both rejoice and mourn it when they day comes. Hang in there, Mom. You’re right where you are supposed to be.

    Reply
  • 36. schonakessler  |  June 23, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I WAS one of those other mothers who was blissfully unaware….until last week when we got the news about our 3 year old. Now our world has been turned upside down….now I AM one of YOU…

    Things like this can only make you stronger right? We will bind together and work this out as a family…and I will be here with all of the Other mothers….learning, understanding and living.

    Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  • 37. Suz  |  June 23, 2010 at 6:18 am

    schonakessler, so sorry to hear about your news. It sounds to me like you and your family have a wonderful attitude about it, though, and even though there will be dark times, that will get you through. Despite the challenges I honestly wouldn’t have my son any other way–it is who he is. All kids have challenges of some sort, this is just ours! Good luck.

    Reply
  • 38. Dearna  |  August 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Perfect words to describe how I feel.

    Reply
  • 39. Anger – get behind me! « Welcome to the mad house  |  September 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    […] has helped me greatly in the past to read  The Other Mother by Darcy over at What We Need and Welcome to the club by Jess at A diary of a […]

    Reply
  • 40. Liz Coyne  |  November 4, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Hi. I started digging through your Best Ofs and of course this title attracted me because I so often have this strange feeling of Other-ness. How I’d love to invite you both over for a playdate.

    Reply
  • 41. CaRRiE  |  August 16, 2011 at 1:34 am

    You just summed up how I feel every day, thank you 🙂

    Reply

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