God has trusted us to guide our children to the best of our abilities, despite the guidance we may have received growing up.
Daughter age 9
" Instead of being a gently guide she was more rigid like... "this is the way I am leading you so this is the way you better go." This rigid guidance was something I knew I had to change when I became a mother." ~Mina
As mothers we try our best to guide our children to h best of our abilities. But what happens when we ourselves need guidance to get them the help they truly need. Mina learned that in order to help her daughter with her ASD she had to become her biggest advocate, her warrior guide.
Welcome to her Kweendom.
Hello Beau2ful's Philosophy is, "Who we are as a daughter, influences who we are as a woman, and impacts who we are as a mother. I call this cycle our Kweendom. Tell me about your Kweendom.
My grandmother was not emotional available and very old school. She had those old beliefs, like..." children are to be seen and not heard, and as long as a woman looks good thats all the matters, and what goes on in this house stays in this house" Those sound familiar right? (LOL) Thankfully my mother didn't adopt all of those views, but she still leaned toward many other old school ways based on how she was raised. She didn't really try to do things differently. Her mentality was... this worked fo me, so it will work for you. For example, there were some discipline techniques that even at a young age I knew that when I became a mother I would absolutely NOT to do. However, one thing my mother did do differently than my grandmother, is work on herself internally. My grandmother was very focused on the external and how things looked or appeared, but she never really worked her own internal growth. My mother on the other hand yearned for growth. She wanted to spiritually grow. So when I was about 11 or 12 she got saved, a few years later my sister and I got saved as well.
When you get saved its not like a magic trick where everything magically changes overnight. I sure which it did because there are things that are a reeeaalll struggle (LOL) But, spirit growth is a process. All three of us having to grow spiritually parallel to each other was not easy at times. As I was developing, mentally, physically, and spiritually, so was my mother. She was in the process of trying to come out of her own cocoon so giving guidance to two girls , while also trying to guide herself... developed some growing pains. Everyones spiritual walk is different and my mother has a very strong and dominant personality. Instead of being a gently guide she was more rigid like... "this is the way I am leading you so this is the way you better go." This rigid guidance was something I knew I had to change when I became a mother.
Once I had my daughter I was determined to be a gentle guide for her. From the time I was pregnant I knew that she truly wasn't mine she was the Lord's. Our children are given to us on assignment it's simply our job to guide them to their purpose. From the very beginning it was important for me to learn that she is not my "mini me" she is her own person. This made me become fully aware of how I move as a woman. In other words I realized what I say and do affects her and imprints on her. I learned from my own childhood that there are things that we may do as women that are not necessarily the right way to handle things. It's important to me to apologize to my child when I don't handle things correctly. I also make sure she watches me go back and fix things, whether it's apologizing to someone or whether it's rectifying a situation. I was determined to make sure with my daughter I wouldn't be so rigid and I would guide her the best way i knew how. I think it was when she about two and a half when I realized I would need my own guidance to help her.
There were some ideas that she was autistic at two and a half because she was not talking. But as a mom of course, I was like, "well, that's just her... she'll talk in her own time." I didn't have any information about Autism Spectrum Disorder. (ASD) In the beginning they diagnosed her with a speech delay. But she went through the process of having a speech therapist too quickly. She picked up on speech like it was nothing. I didn't know it at first but after all the research and knowledge I've acquired over time, I now know that initially more boys were diagnosed with ASD rather than girls because girls mask the traits of ASD. Girls are just better at hiding it. Thankfully at two and a half we started putting some services in place and she received her full diagnosis at 8.
As a mom, especially with a child that has a diagnosis where there is no cure.... there maybe services, assistant and help, but I am talking about no actually cure for what your child has, you feel extremely helpless. I had to go through 3 stages in order to overcome that feeling. The first stage I went through was denial. "No, no, no, no this can't be... do another test!" Then once I found out it was final I went through the second stage...guilt. "Did I do something wrong? Is there something that I could have done differently." The third stage was the hardest... grief. As mothers, we have these ideas and ideals of what we want for our children. We dream of how we want them to be, what first grade will be like, what middle school would be like and so forth. I had to let go of all these dreams and expectations and I mourned them. Eventually, I came to terms with her diagnosis and I realized that my daughter will have her own dreams, ambitions, and her own journey. I came out of those three stage ready to fight for her. I became her WARRIOR GUIDE!
When I first started doing research on autism, it was either someone had Asperger's which is high functioning, or someone is full blown autistic, which means they don't have any social or academic components that are easily manageable. The research has now evolved. What is amazing is now when they diagnose someone with autism they give them a number. The number tells you where you are on the spectrum, and then it lines up services needed according to the number. My daughter is high functioning according to the spectrum. I researched everything I could possibly find on ASD. I advocated for her relentlessly and made sure all her services were aligned with her needs. I witness the research on ASD evolve overtime and I am so gratefully I was her warrior guide and equipped myself with all the information I needed to help her. Now I share this information with other parents that may need guidance.
When your child has a disability I learned that it can be a big bone of contention with people of color and even Christians. Some of us aren't even willing to share that our child has a disability because we feel like that it speaks to who we are as a mother. I want you to know that you are not inadequate, you are not a bad parent, and it's time to be real about our children and their diagnosis so we can help guide them to the resources that they need.
If your daughter has special needs or disabilities please share your experience and any resources you've found that may help other superhero moms.
My daughter is autistic. The resources for ASD diagnosis are vast. Our biggest resource is CHOP. Their developmental pediatric department is world renowned and phenomenal.
Love is an action word. In what ways have you shown your daughter/s she is loved and how she should be loved?
I believe I have shown my daughter love by acknowledging her voice at every turn. Coming from an old school background of “children should be seen; not heard.” I have not adopted that parenting principle. I actually think it is detrimental to a child’s psyche and spiritual well being.
Embracing one's culture and heritage is essential in the transition to womanhood. How have you celebrated your culture/heritage with your daughter?
I was born and partly raised in West Africa. Raising a bi-culturally aware child comes pretty easy. My daughter has already spent a few months in Senegal. Even at home we eat a lot of African food and celebrate cultural holidays.
Kbeau2ful's Final Thoughts:
Our children truly do not belong to us. God has placed them in our care. He trust that we will guide them back to Him to the best of our abilities. Mina's story teaches us that even though it is hard to accept that our children have a disability, it is essential to push past the denial, guilt, and grief, and become their biggest advocates.