Happy Mother's Day Weekend
The Big Catch Up

To Motherhood, With Love

Mother mug
By Cathy Jameson

Photo: A gift from my husband - received on Mother’s Day, 2001, while pregnant with my oldest.

Many of my friends started their families long before I did.  I loved watching them welcome new life into their homes and wanted so much to have a family of my own as well.  All my life I’ve wanted to be a mom.  In 2001, my wish came true.  My first baby arrived.

Labor started Tuesday evening.  It ended Thursday afternoon.  To describe my labor experience as being long is inaccurate.  It was excruciating.  But like other mothers say, eventually you forget about the nerves, the anxiety, and that excruciating pain.  

All of that is quickly replaced by a new emotion:  pure love. 

Those other mothers were right.  I instantly fell in love with my little girl.  She and I would spend all day together.  Sometimes we would spend all night together, too.  Not the best sleeper in the world, I had to learn how to soothe a fussy newborn who had some nursing issues.  Without a good latch, I learned, my baby wasn’t getting a good feeding.  She struggled.  I struggled.  She was tired.  I was tired.  It was frustrating.  And painful!  

But, within a few weeks, we finally both got the hang of it. 

Before giving birth, I had been teaching full time.  I taught for many years and enjoyed every minute of it.  After the baby arrived, I was fortunate to not have to go back to work.  Grateful to have extra time, I eased into motherhood with my daughter. 

Life as a full-time mom was completely different, but it was a good different.  Each day was mine to plan.  Each moment was ours to create.  My daughter and I spent a lot of time in our small apartment during her first few months of life, but eventually we ventured out.  We went into town to do errands in the morning.  We strolled around the neighborhood in the afternoon.  Some days, we’d meet my husband for lunch.  We’d sometimes plan meetups with friends, too.  When we didn’t go out, I read, and the baby played with her baby toys.  Then we napped. 

I loved being a Mom and couldn’t remember what life was like before having a baby.  I’m Mom to five babies now.  They’re not wee anymore, but they’ll always be my babies. 

So many things have changed since I first stepped into the role of mother.  We’ve moved several times.  We made new friends here.  And made new friends there.  We’re no different than lots of other families in many respects.  But we have had to make several changes other families typically do not have to.  I’d like to think I adapted well to some of those changes, including when I went from typical Mom to “Special” Mom.  

But I’d be lying if I said that. 

As a young “special” mom, juggling my son’s medical issues was intimidating.  When he was in school, handling his special education needs was exhausting.  Juggling his daily needs when he was younger required focus.  Thinking about his future was crippling.  Being in charge of his care was sometimes daunting, but I quickly learned what I needed to make things run smoothly…or at least to help make some days run smoother than they were the day before.  

My days were full when my children were school age.  Their schedules then were always busy.  They still are now, all these years later.  I may not always get to choose what I want to do on a given day, but each day is still my own to enjoy.  

Being able to enjoy the day, and all of what that day brings, gives me the chance to create moments.  Some moments are peaceful.  Some are not.  But they are moments that I have created.  I am proud of some I have had and wish others had never happened.  But they are all moments that have taught me, that have shaped me, and that, like my children, will forever be a part of me. 

Special mother mug

Photo: Another gift from my husband, Mother’s Day, 2011.

Would I change some of what happened to my son so that I didn’t fall into that new category of Special Mother?  Yes.  I would.  I think other parents would consider that as well.  While I have been blessed along the way in that role, it has taken a toll.  Not just on me.  But on others in the family.  We’ve grown from all of it, and I pray that growth and our perseverance will continue, no matter how much strain we may feel. 

Most of the time, that strain we feel is temporary. 

But for some, like for my oldest daughter, it can have long-lasting effects. 

Thankfully, some of it is good!

That first baby of mine graduates from college this week.  It happened so fast!  Over the years, she’s seen me at my best.  She’s helped me at my worst.  I would like for some of her childhood to have been a bit easier, but if I changed what happened to her brother, she wouldn’t be the young woman she’s turned into today.  With everything she could’ve studied, she picked to study Biology and Chemistry.  Just last week during her finals, she shared with me again that a class, Neuroscience, had her thinking about Ronan. 

She knows what happened to him didn’t have to happen. 

She wonders what she can do for others to prevent medical complications, like the ones her brother deals with to this day.   

Always reading, with an affinity for researching, that baby of mine is going to be one of those siblings who changes the world.  I have no doubt that she, and each of the typical siblings, will use every lesson her brother has knowingly, and unknowingly, taught her.  She’ll use it for good.  I know she will. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 


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Gerardo Martinez

Beautiful, sweet story. Thank you for sharing. Happy Mother's Day!


Beautifully written, Cathy.
One day you will have an empty nest with time to write your book.


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers with children/adults with special needs like ours. Cathy I went through the same experiences with my adult son who has autism as you and many others did. I wish we could go back and reverse what happened to our special children, but sadly, we cannot. We must continue to care for them as long as we can and pray to God for a miracle cure for all of them during our lifetime. Love for our children/adults and may God Bless them all.

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