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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Waiting room

It’s 8:15 a.m. and I’ve been up for more than four hours. I’m uncertain whether I’m truly awake or not.

It reminds me of when they were all babies; you’d be nursing [translation = breast feeding] on demand during the night and would sometimes find that you’d reached a state of somnambulance; neither truly awake and certainly not asleep. It was just as well that the low energy banks prevented me from driving. [translation = and people complain about those using cell phones whilst driving!]

When I’m in the waiting room at therapy, I often here the phrase ‘no-one seems to understand.’ I’ve said it myself, far too many times to remember, especially just after their diagnoses, when everything was new and confusing. I try not to say it now, as it isn’t very helpful, to me or to anyone else. It’s like the weeks leading up to the birth of your first child; you’ve done your homework, your bag is packed, you know what style of parent you’re going to be. Six weeks later after the baby has arrived, you just emerge from the shell shock phase. You cannot believe how your life has changed. You cannot believe that no-one told you about this. You forget that lots of people did tell you about it, it’s just that it didn’t really make sense, it didn’t sink in. Now it has.

If you have a group of people gathered together for a special announcement, all the parents listen to the news that Jim and Jane are pregnant for the first time with twins. A collective gasp fills the room. All the people with children think, ‘poor
souls, a baptism of fire.’ All the people without children think, 'Twins! How cute.’

When you meet someone who is pregnant and about to have their first baby, you tell them how life transforming it is. You, the pregnant person, recognize the slightly patronizing acceptance of this truth. You, the teller of the good news, know they don’t get it, but they will do. Unless you’re there, it just doesn’t translate.

So there’s no point in bemoaning the fact that no-one understands about your child. [translation = be a moaning minnie] In truth a lot of people understand little bits about your child, they’re the people who also have children on the spectrum and the therapists and experts who treat them. It may not be a lot of people but it’s more than some ‘one.’ Whilst they may not get it entirely, they’ll be close enough. Just like you don’t really ‘get it’ with their child, you get enough. You’re in the same place, so take solace from that and use ‘waiting time’ as your own therapy by talking to the other parents there. [translation = here endeth today's sermon]

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