Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Tears, playgroup and why I'm struggling

Holding my head in my hands with a tear trickling down my cheek I sit beside Faith while she watches TV. Minutes pass and then I feel this little clenched fist force its way into my hand. It is her way of holding my hand, telling me it is going to be ok. Faith knows and she understands all in her way.

In the past I have found it hard being part of a playgroup. There have been many reasons I have backed off after being involved a few weeks. At first years ago, it was because I felt we didn't fit in and I struggled to see the other little girls progressing when Faith was struggling so. The pain of the 'what ifs' take time to heal and I had to search deep within myself to seek the clarity of mind to find acceptance of what I could not change. The pain is still there but I have learned to embrace the difference as holding onto unrealistic dreams and expectations was not helping the situation.

I tried taking Faith to a playgroup 12months ago and she didn't want to go so I left it waiting for another time and place. Faith has come so far in the past year and I decided to jump in. She was more than ready this time. I have been taking her to a playgroup for four weeks now. I don't struggle as I once did, I am challenged by something else.

I don't know how but each week after playgroup I end up in tears. No one is mean on the contrary they are accepting and supporting. Of course it happens in the privacy of my car or the hidden space of home while the children play at a safe distance so as not to see my the tears. But even if they did see my tears which they have, it is ok for them to see me cry because it is ok to admit I struggle. I am not perfect.

I ask myself, why this happens after playgroup, I realised today. I am sure for any mum it takes effort, motivation and perseverance to pack up their kids, morning tea, clothes and go anywhere.

My biggest fear today was turning up at playgroup only for Faith to vomit again and again. Vomit is such a horrible word, it conjures such a vivid image in my head and I don't particularly like it. I would probably rather say throw up or sick. It sounds less intense and gross. Faith vomits from her brain condition, so it is something she cannot help and the measures we have taken have lessened it but it still hangs around. She did manage not to vomit until the end of the program.

Each week I question myself, should I go? Should I take Faith? Is it worth it?

I then remind myself how much darling Faith loves the music, singing, interaction and making new friends. She has learned she should hold onto the musical instruments rather than dropping them onto the floor. Even if she is sick she continues on enjoying what is going on around her. She usually wants to stay but it is me who is ready to go home.

I often think about how it looks to other mums watching another child vomit. I know my mind is saying please don't judge me, it isn't contagious. It is just Faith. I feel embarrassed with the vomit. Even after years of it, I still dislike it so much. I feel self conscious. I ponder whether other mums wish we didn't come as it is in the too hard basket and we are more of a burden than others. I feel we are too needy and there is nothing I can do about it. I feel helpless. So, I go home and cry because it has been hard, wiping my daughters face removing the vomit.

My only thought would be that perhaps the next time you see a mum struggling with their child, ask them what can you do? Because I am sure there is something, even if it is just the offer of help. It would mean the world.

Then I recover and remember, the smiles, the joy, the singing and how going has helped Faith grow. Just taking a chance that one little step will make a difference.

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