I’ll let you in on a little secret – I never thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom, let alone a hands-on mom. Never in a million years. I always imagined myself returning to my job shortly after giving birth well, until my daughter, H, was born.
I held a career in the training and development field of the BPO sector for almost 10 years. I have an insatiable thirst for learning and an equal passion for sharing my knowledge. Even after I graduated with a BS Economics degree in college, my first instinct was to look for a job that would allow me to share what I’ve learned. I almost got hired by a well-known exclusive school for boys, until they informed me during my last panel interview that they were considering me for a position in their preschool department. I was only 20 years old and I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to manage a class full of toddlers! I turned the opportunity down, not knowing that I would be placed in a quite similar situation later in my life. Oh, the irony!
When I married the love of my life in 2010, we were both ecstatic to find out that we got pregnant a month after. It was our honeymoon baby! Unfortunately, 6 weeks through my pregnancy, I had a miscarriage. This literally turned our world upside down. It took me a while and a lot of help from my family and friends to get back on my feet. I focused on my job for a year but found it difficult to get pregnant again. My 10-12 hour work shift certainly didn’t help. It was May of 2011 that I finally decided to end my career and focus on my family.
Fast forward to June 2012, we welcomed our first-born daughter into the world. Despite all the parenting self-help books on the market and the fact that I’m the eldest among five other siblings, nothing prepared me for the all-consuming nature of motherhood. Really, no one, I mean no one, and nothing can prepare you for what’s ahead those first several weeks. I went to a breastfeeding class, subscribed to various websites and online forums, read every parenting book I could get hold of but none of them told me what to do when H refused to latch on after three weeks of nursing as she continued to scream at the top of her lungs because, well, she was hungry. In my mind, I had envisioned all rainbows and unicorns at this point. And those same books seemed to have left out the fact that I would check to make sure she was breathing several times a night those first few weeks, and even still at 12 months!
I remember that H was a good-natured baby. Shortly after turning one, she changed. She developed differently. She hit her milestones in different orders, for the most part, delayed. She tiptoed a lot, spun tirelessly while looking sideways and chose to drink only from a specific cup. She did the strangest things with her toys by lining up and stacking them, watching a toy car’s wheels spin, to name a few. She didn’t do things that normal babies do like respond to her name, make eye contact, babble, parrot, etc. She didn’t socialize with the kids at her playschool and didn’t really seem bothered by playing alone. It was like she was in her own little world.
Her meltdowns were out of frustration with objects like birthday cakes and candles, over things not being in order – anything it seemed would set her off again. She also had a lot of problems with food sensitivity (still does) and attention span (still does), as well. I felt it in my gut, as I watch her grow, that something wasn’t right. My sister, whose first-born son has autism, told me that we should get H checked but my husband and I were hesitant because everyone we talked to said that children develop differently. We got mostly the same feedback, “She is a late bloomer,” “All kids develop differently,” “She will be fine.” We decided to take matters into our own hands and had her assessed by a developmental pediatrician. As they say, knowledge is power.
Through this blog, I hope to share our journey to parenting a special needs child and hopefully, inspire others to raise acceptance and awareness. My goal is to increase public understanding about the special needs community. You can read more about it in my All About Special Needs section. This blog also aims to document some of my special moments with family and friends, hence, the title “Days Made Special.”
Aside from being my personal online journal of moments and things I treasure most, Days Made Special is a blog that aims to give back to the special needs community. Watch out for it on the blog’s Pay It Forward section.
As you read and stay on with me in my journey to mommy-hood, may you find this a place where you enjoy and feel inspired to make time for you, yes, YOU! Remember, YOU are what holds their little world together.