When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so happy. I had no idea what was to come. I had no idea what planning I needed to undertake other than the usual color scheme for her room and stroller I wanted. But planning out her entire future and the lists the way I had seen other women so effortlessly do? No, I didn’t do that. You see…I overwhelm easily. It is a trait of mine I am not so fond of.
But I like the women in my family, we overwhelm, we panic, we stress and then we get it done and move on. I got the job done always. That is until education and schools came into play.
Now here is my disclaimer, I am no expert, I am not a pediatrician, I am not a neurologist, and I am not a psychologist/psychiatrist. But what I am is a mother, first and foremost. I have been around other family and friends with their children as they spoke their first words, took their first steps, and reached their milestones. I knew to purchase the book “What to Expect When You Are Expecting.” I had a semblance of a plan with my husband of what to do or expect.
So, when my daughter was here and began to take her first steps, say her first words, and begin to miss milestones; I began to inwardly panic.
You see she born under fetal distress. I was in labor and didn’t feel any of my contractions. When I did, it was really the time I should have been pushing her out. Not to mention I hadn’t dilated at all. What became an exciting moment turned into 45 minutes of sheer terror for me. I had an emergency C-section. She had pooped inside my belly before she was born. Fast forward, tired but relieved, she was placed in my arms.
All was well with the world, save a few bad nights of colic fits, gastric reflux, occasional cold, bronchitis and ear infection. I went back to work after three months. My mother-in-law took care of her for me. Her first year was a happy one. Even though my husband and I was surrounded by ridiculous family drama that year, our daughter was perfect, happily growing and beautiful.
So, all those thoughts of something being wrong here kept coming up when I saw her not pronounce her words correctly, struggling to communicate and having to translate to my family and in-laws what she trying to say. At 3 years old, I was terrified to put her in PreK 3 because since she wasn’t speaking at all but a few words, I thought the right choice was to hold her back. I was told later that was a wrong decision and I just should have placed her anyways and she would have started talking immediately. Well, she still didn’t. We had her in a bubble because we were scared. What if something happened to her and she couldn’t tell me.
In the Latin culture, you have many tell you, don’t stress it. You are reading too much into it. Every child doesn’t reach milestones at the same time as others. That’s true to a point. However, there is a milestone timeline specialists and pediatricians’ use. It is necessary to be able to properly diagnose a child’s early development and alert the parent if there is an issue.
I also had family members and friends telling me if you think there is something wrong, forget what anyone else says and address it. The problem was I hesitated. I used the fact I was working full time and therefore I couldn’t take time off to address her needs. I think I was more worried about hearing what they would find.
No matter, my mistake was I should have been more proactive. If I had the chance to do it all again, I would have taken her to a neurologist. I would have gotten her speech therapy and occupational therapy at age 3 yrs. I would have ignored the ‘don’t stressors’ and made sure I had answers sooner. I would have not waited till she hit rock bottom in 3rd grade to where most children do before they are diagnosed with a learning disability/difference along with her other diagnosis. The only thing I did right was move her from the private school that wasn’t addressing her needs to one that immediately saw her areas needing attention and jumped on it.
I can say from the moment I had my answers. My husband and I went forward and didn’t look back. In moving her to right school she really blossomed. Where she hated school before and dreaded the mornings, I finally had her heading to school with a smile on her face. She started learning and retained the information. Her anxiety was considerable better. She had catching up to do in the social department where she was withdrawn at school before she was now participating and opening up to express her feelings.
She still has her memories of being teased by other children from her old schools. She still grapples with wondering what her future will be like and how successful she can be in the world we live in right now. She understands and accepts her limitations but knows it doesn’t define her. Now she is dealing with high school and all that comes with it. But that’s another blog for another day.
What’s the moral to my story? I have met and sought counsel from many teachers, principals, pediatricians’, psychologists, neurologists and all of it can be very exhausting. And no there is no one size fits all for each child. But what I can tell is this…listen to your gut. Don’t let anyone tell you there is nothing wrong.
Us mothers/fathers (don’t want to forget fathers) have a sixth sense and it something that God gave us to know when we need to step in and help our children. Trust your instincts. Sometimes they are screaming at us. It is ok to fight for your child. It is ok not to always agree with your teacher when they say everything is fine. It is ok to press a little further when your pediatrician says, I find nothing wrong. The one moment can make all the difference in the outcome.
Remember, you are their advocate, their lawyer, their coach, their counselor, their friend, and above all their parent. If you can’t or don’t fight for them…who will?
Thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment below. I will be posting this on my socia media accounts as well!
Have a great day! Be safe and make good decisions out there.
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