I’d be lying if I said I never get jealous because I do. Is that bad?
It’s one of those things that I hate to admit but it happens. I get jealous! I am a special-needs mother and I simply get jealous of non-special-needs mothers.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a great life. I have two wonderful boys who both happen to have autism. My oldest has severe autism and my youngest has mild autism. There are certain days that I feel like I could be an autism expert! I mean, how could I not be? I’m raising a good range of the whole spectrum in my house daily. I fight the daily battles of having a non-verbal child. Yet, I fight the daily battles of having a child who is VERY verbal with no filter whatsoever! Needless to say, our life can be very interesting and our house is never quiet.
With Trenton, I fight the issues of having a child who is in his own world 24/7. At the same time, I fight the issues of having a child who wants to be in everyone else’s world 24/7. My son Andres is the definition of hyper-social! My daily experiences with my sons are completely opposite. I could discuss the range of the spectrum in depth to the fullest that it has ever been spoken about. However, I’ll save that for another day.
During my roller-coaster life I often find myself fighting jealousy. It creeps in like a thief in the night. On some days I feel like it comes out of nowhere—but does it really come out of nowhere? Maybe it came in a little bit at a time when I didn’t even notice. Maybe it sneaks in behind my strength I show every day. Maybe, just maybe, it’s always there but I block it.
Jealousy is all around special-needs parents. I never know what kind of emotions I’ll have and battle with daily until the situation arises. Sometimes we’re mad, happy, tired, sad, jealous and desperate. Sometimes we feel defeated and hopeless, but driven. On some days we are enthusiastic, courageous and frustrated. The list of our roller-coaster emotions could go on forever. However, the one that creeps in most often is jealousy.
I get jealous when I see children Trenton’s age that can communicate. I get jealous of other children and parents when I see Trenton have a meltdown because of his frustration at not being able to communicate. This jealousy of other children turns into sadness and I am sad once again for my child.
Jealousy comes when I see the sadness and fear in Andrew’s eyes. Andrew’s eyes are a strong voice that give away his wave of emotions when he doesn’t want to tell me. I get so jealous of the children his age that don’t have to fight the social fears that he does. Once again, my jealousy turns into sadness and I am sad for him—sad that he has to fight these daily battles.
I get jealous when I see other mothers at the grocery store with their children. I get jealous of the children who are walking along with their mothers, not having any meltdowns or battling any sensory problems while in the store. I get jealous at the mothers who can do the easiest and simplest task with their children because sometimes the easiest and most natural task takes days of planning and preparation for us.
I get jealous of the parents who can go out and have a date night with their spouse. Not everyone is jumping at our door, excited to babysit a child with severe autism.
I am jealous of the children who get to play t-ball and who get to participate in all the social activities that most children enjoy. I am jealous of their parents who get to go and watch their children take part in “normal” extracurricular activities. I am jealous of everyone who gets to sleep at night. Our house doesn’t know what it’s like to sleep. My list of jealousy could go on and on and on, forever.
In fact, if you’re a parent that can even let “your guard down” for a few minutes, then I am jealous of you too! I don’t know what it’s like to let my guard down for five seconds. My guard is up and going strong every minute of the day with two boys with autism.
Jealousy hits often and when it does, it hits hard. No one even knows when I am battling it because I don’t let it show. I’ve learned how to smile and live life to the fullest behind those jealous thoughts. I’ve learned how to hide the pain and keep it from interfering in my life.
I have always been known to be a down-to-earth, simple girl who has always been grateful for what I have been blessed with in life. I am beyond grateful for my two boys. I wouldn’t trade them or our life for anything in the world. In fact, my boys have made me a much better person because of their special needs.
With that said, getting jealous of others is human nature. Jealousy takes over when I just want to have a “normal” day with no autism battles. However, at the end of the day, I am beyond blessed in life. I couldn’t be more grateful for my sons and their special needs. They are truly worth it.
Angela and her family reside in Terre Haute, Indiana, where they moved to get more help for her son with severe autism. She was born and raised in a small town in southern Illinois where her love for animals and helping others blossomed.
She enjoys sharing the honest and real side of autism through her writing. Her writing may not apply to every family with a child with autism, but it is sure to apply to the families raising children on the severe end of the spectrum.