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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Second Thoughts

Writing that last post took a lot out of me. It was like baring my soul to the world and admitting that I failed. I can no longer handle my severely autistic child and had no choice but to place him in a residential facility. In reality, there's MUCH more to discuss and dissect before such a statement can even be made. There's the years of build up and exhaustion and the toll a child like this takes on the family. And believe me, the decision was not made lightly, and not without a fight from me - a lot of fight. I did not feel ready to take this momentous step until a year ago when Dovi's level of aggression and the incredible strain his presence was having on every member of my family - my husband, me, and our other two boys - became unbearable. Even then, the amount of tears I shed, the number of nights I could not sleep, and the enormous amount of inner work I had to do to process oodles grief and guilt, would fill a book. I was hoping that once Dovi was settled in and I knew he was happy, I'd feel better too. But it took two weeks for the initial depression to pass. I felt like a limb had been amputated. I couldn't do anything those first two weeks. My family was blossoming, Dovi was doing great at his new place, but I was doing terribly. My heart was waging a war with my brain. Even though my brain knew that we had done the right thing for everyone involved, my heart just couldn't let go. Thankfully, I've gotten used to our new normal, and I will be visiting Dovi finally this week, so I'm feeling a lot better.

But then... the first nasty comment came in, on the previous blog entry. I was expecting some negativity, but this person's comment was a doozy. I didn't let it through, of course, and I won't even deign to address it. Because the person writing it wasn't only 100% in the wrong, but she has absolutely no idea what life has been like for the past six years, and how absolutely urgent this placement was. That the facility Dovi is in, is not a prison, or exile, or an institution. It is a wonderful school geared precisely to the severely autistic population; a place where Dovi will actually learn real life skills and be toilet trained, things that are not possible in a regular public or private school, plus a busy household. But the comment gave me pause, as I realized that there are going to be naysayers out there who will find something rude and insensitive to say to every post I will write. And I thought to myself, what do I need this aggravation for? I finally managed to move forward and put the past few difficult years behind me. Why relive it? Why dredge everything back up and revive this blog?

I am not writing this blog because I need to defend our family's decision, or to feel better about it. I am writing it for two reasons: One, because as time will move on and the memories will dim, I am afraid that Dovi's untold story will be forgotten. The further away I will go from the day-to-day crushing burden and stressors that were part and parcel of raising Dovi, I will be loathe to dig it up all up again and rehash it. Now is the time. I want to be able to relive those days, bit by bit, and find the beautiful parts and the unbearable parts. I want to be able to be a voice to those brave heroes who are struggling every day to keep their heads above the water and survive another day. And I want them to know that they are not alone. Two, because the mothers and fathers of high-needs special needs kids who had to come to the truly heartwrenching realization that the situation was harmful to the caregivers, siblings, and the child as well, and that they had to find a better living setup for their child, should also feel less alone. Early on in my placement journey I got to know Amy of Normal is a Dryer Setting and I read her entries, one by one. Now when I went through my own heartbreak when Dovi's placement became a reality, I read and reread her entries of the days following her son's placement, and I was able to identify with every word. Blog like hers are what kept me going. So you never know; this blog might be a balm to someone else's aching soul when they face the same gut-shattering dilemma.

It might be hard to understand where I come from and what the grueling struggle for survival is really like, if you're not a parent of a severely autistic child yourself. And ironically enough, some of the negativity I've faced - not here, but on other social media - did come from other special needs parents, who couldn't understand why I wasn't coping. Well, that's okay. Every child is different; every parent is different; family dynamics differ; community norms, social expectations, religious obligations, etc differ from person to person. I don't expect every reader to understand. But I do ask that the readers refrain from making rude and hurtful comments. They are not helpful.

So, I'm still having second thoughts whether it is worth it to put myself through the potential hurt that might result from continuing with the blog. I think the benefits will outweigh the risks. I hope so.


  1. I for one hope that you keep this blog up. I don't have personal experience with an autistic child, I am a frum woman who knows you from a website you used to frequent before Dovi was born and I enjoy reading what you have to say. I followed your blog when you first started it and loved it, so I am thrilled to find it active again. However, I have seen on other blogs that some posters can be so nasty and type the first awful thing that comes to their mind, no matter how awful and damaging that comment may be. Things people would never ever dare say face to face. So I get why you'd be hesitant to invite such comments. Here is to hoping you'll just take the stupid comments with a grain of salt, develop a thick skin, and continue to inspire us with a glimpse into your life!

  2. Keep writing! As a fellow writer, I'm inspired by your honesty and vulnerability.

  3. Don't let the bad comments get you.They will never understand your position. Because every case is different.bravo for you for doing the right thing for you.your family. What your son really needs to grow and thrive.may you yet see lots of nachos from this child and all your other children


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