Grieving my former self and everything I've lost
I am in a pretty dark place right now and feel like I have no idea how to get myself out of it. I used to be a bright and bubbly person who was always surrounded by close friends and loved being social. All of this changed after the birth of my son who has a severe disability. His father left and whilst he pays child support, he does nothing else to help. He argues that he never wanted the pregnancy in the first place and wanted me to abort as he wasn't ready for a child but I couldn't do it. I am now in a position where I have given up my career, my dreams. I am alone with a child who needs round the clock care and have been alone now for 6 years. I feel hopeless in my current situation. I love my son but I am so consumed by anger and resentment and grief. My life has had to completely change since my son arrived. I have lost the closeness of friendships and the dynamics have changed as I don't have a lot in common with people with typical kids- my son is so different. I just don't know how to dig myself out of this hole as I am completely exhausted. Thanks for letting me share and vent!
Thanks for posting. Your situation sounds challenging. It's great that you’re able to share your story here. I don't have kids, so I can't directly relate. However, I volunteer with kids and teens that have intellectual disabilities. Some of the kids only have mild limitations, whereas a few are non-verbal. One boy is so adorable - he makes the best facial expressions! The group activities I participate in involve about 8 kids per session. On Saturday, a staff member and I pick up the kids to do an activity, such as bowling or swimming, which also gives the parents respite.
If you haven't done so, enquire about respite services. Most states in Australia should have some form of respite available. Do you live near your parents, siblings, or other relatives who could help a little? I know this isn't a solution, as looking after a child with a disability involves much more work, and not everyone is capable or willing to assist. Perhaps you could start saving some extra money so that you can employ a care worker to assist you once or twice a week.
Have you tried seeing a counsellor about your anger and grief? Looking after your own mental health is vital, for both you and your son’s sake. Perhaps you could take your son along to a counselling appointment, and have him in the room playing with toys whilst you talk, if this is possible. I obviously don’t know anything about your son, so sorry if some of this advice isn’t applicable to you!
Even though you have less in common with some friends now, try to keep in touch with a few people. Being able to talk to friends about your life is a comfort. Some people will find spending time with you more difficult, because their kids can’t interact as much with your son. However, it might be good for other kids to have interactions with your son, as that way they will learn to have empathy for others who are different.
There was a girl at my primary school with Down syndrome, who regularly went to my friend’s house to play with her younger sister. My friend’s sister had no form of disability, but was still able to learn how to communicate and interact with this friend. Your son’s disability may make this sort of situation impractical, but I just thought I’d share it anyway.
Hopefully someone who has a child with a disability will respond to you :)
I really feel for the challenges that you face in your everyday life.
It is not fair that your partner has deserted you. It is sad that he can not feel anything for his own child. Money can not replace the support provided by a loving partner and father.
If you have had to give up your career. Have you thought about maybe trying to train for something different. There are a lot of education opportunities available on line these days and you can study at your own convenience. It might help to be mentally active. Something to interrupt your worrying about your situation.
If you are finding the stress of caring too difficult please do seek some help. And let us know how you are going and vent some more if it will help you.