Hey there, Trench Dwellers!
Last week, we heard from two storytellers about their thoughts, feelings, and advice regarding chronic illness. Their beautiful words allowed us to glimpse the pain and struggle that living with chronic illness can cause in a woman's life. Their stories also shared hope that even when broken, you can get up again. Sarah said it perfectly in her story:
"We are all broken. Each and every one of us has been shattered before. What matters, after everything falls apart, is what you do next."
This week's topic: autism. Two mothers share what it is like to take care of their sons with autism. We have our first creator partnership with self-published author Suzanne M. Mitchell and her book, Autism in a Nutshell? Okay . . . Maybe a Nuthouse: 101 Reasons Our Family is SOOO "Special" (available for purchase on Amazon). Suzanne's son, Joey, was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and her book shares stories of the ups and downs of caring and loving for her son. You can read excerpts from her book on the Stories from the Trenches blog this week—a sampling of Suzanne's witty insight into what life with a special needs child looks like.
Our second author is Carrie—a Stories from the Trenches board member—who shared some of her story during the soft launch of the website. This week, Carrie shares her experience caring for her autistic son, Teddy, and what her "new normal" has become.
In 2014, the Center for Disease Control estimated that 1 in 68 children are born with autism, and a government study later that year suggested that "1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)." There is much discussion about why this is happening to our children and why the numbers have increased over the years. These mothers sharing their stories this week are not debating either side of the arguments but sharing what it truly looks like to care for a child—a precious child who is much more than a statistic.
Founder, Stories from the Trenches
I've had the song "H.O.L.Y." by Florida Georgia Line on repeat lately. I know the song is a man singing to his partner, but there are lyrics that make me think of my oldest daughter. She went on her first solo adventure this past weekend, and Momma's heart did a lot of nervous beating. When she returned, I imagined myself being that mom running like a crazy woman to sweep her into a high-in-the-air hug. I was able to control myself and not do the crazy run, instead trying to keep my cool with a decent fast stride and then smothering her in hugs and kisses. In her usual calm manner, she said in all my smothering, "I missed you too, Mom." My oldest is my little angel, and she is "holy, holy, holy, holy I'm high on loving you, high on loving you."
Living with Crohn's Disease
I was diagnosed on a hot, spring day in California. I was in college, and I had never been in the hospital before. I remember always having a "nervous stomach," growing up, and I was sick with "a stomach bug" more often than I was well. This particular day, I went to the emergency room with terrible stomach pain—pain so bad that my family thought something was wrong with my appendix. The ER staff took one look at my pale, thin body and admitted me immediately.
In Broken Places
We are all broken. Each and every one of us has been shattered before. What matters, after everything falls apart, is what you do next.
As someone who has been split into pieces many times, I can tell you that putting yourself back together again can be an agonizing process. It is difficult to climb out of a pit of despair.