Nov 24

If Mama Ain’t Happy…

This is a re-post of a speech I gave to welcome everyone to the 1st Happy Mama Conference and Retreat, first held summer of 2012 in Conover, NC. It’s a great retreat and is still going on!

I’m reposting the speech for a couple of reasons. One, because even though several years have passed, none of the challenges I and so many of my fellow mamas of children with NB special needs have changed, and two, maybe more importantly, the core message of this speech is still CRUCIAL for us to remember: you are not alone.

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I’m Adrienne Ehlert Bashista. Some of you might know me from our group blog and book: Easy to Love but Hard to Raise, or through the Facebook page connected to it, or through A Mom’s View of ADHD blog or Facebook page, or some of you might not know me at all.

I have a 10 year old son who has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD. I’m not going to talk that much about FASD except to say that it’s a brain-based disorder that manifests itself behaviorally. It’s a physical disability because it is based in his body, but it’s in the part of the body we don’t see, the brain, but the part of the body that has the greatest impact on his behavior, his learning, his ability to get along in the world, and his relationship with his family and anyone else he meets.

Our path to getting our son the correct diagnosis was a loooooong one. His first diagnosis was ADHD, followed by ODD, mood disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, pediatric bipolar, then we found out he has borderline intelligence and finally, after 4 psychiatrists, 3 therapists, 2 family practice doctors, 3 OTs. 1 speech therapist we found the diagnosis that made sense.

For everyone in this room who’s had to struggle to find a diagnosis, whose had to trust her gut more than the experts, who’s taken their kid to very well-meaning, kind, but ultimately ineffective people, who’ve largely blamed yourself for your child’s behavior problems (because in the end, who else do you blame)? I need to tell you this: Continue reading

Aug 14

If Mama Ain’t Happy, well…

This is the speech I gave to welcome everyone to the Happy Mama Conference and Retreat, held a couple of weeks ago in Conover, NC. We had an amazing time and we will definitely be doing it again. I’m sharing the welcome speech on the blog because I think it will resonate with all our readers. Remember, you are not alone.

I’m Adrienne Ehlert Bashista. Some of you might know me from our group blog and book: Easy to Love but Hard to Raise, or through the Facebook page connected to it, or through A Mom’s View of ADHD blog or Facebook page, or some of you might not know me at all.

I have a 10 year old son who has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD. I’m not going to talk that much about FASD except to say that it’s a brain-based disorder that manifests itself behaviorally. It’s a physical disability because it is based in his body, but it’s in the part of the body we don’t see, the brain, but the part of the body that has the greatest impact on his behavior, his learning, his ability to get along in the world, and his relationship with his family and anyone else he meets.

Our path to getting our son the correct diagnosis was a loooooong one. His first diagnosis was ADHD, followed by ODD, mood disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, pediatric bipolar, then we found out he has borderline intelligence and finally, after 4 psychiatrists, 3 therapists, 2 family practice doctors, 3 OTs. 1 speech therapist we found the diagnosis that made sense. Continue reading

Aug 14

If Mama Ain’t Happy, part 2.

Here’s part 1 of this post. I was just about to explain a metaphor for parenting a child with invisible special needs.

This chair is in my bedroom. Do any of you have a chair in your bedroom? What happens to chairs in your bedroom? This….

Maybe not quite as bad as mine, but whatever. It’s been a busy last couple of weeks.

Here’s the deal with the chair: when I do laundry I bring it into my bedroom to sort and put in piles on my bed. Each kid has a pile, my husband has a pile, towels go in a pile, etc. Once laundry is finished for the day I call my kids in to put their clothes away, and they usually do. Sometimes my son Jamie puts up a big stink (he’s my ETL baby) but since this is the ONE CHORE he has eventually he’ll do it. My husband puts his clothes away, too. So that leaves my clothes, the towels, the sheets, cloth napkins, dishtowels, etc.

So I make sure everyone’s laundry is put away…and then I don’t put away my own. Continue reading