Our life is often shaped by challenges that occur beyond our control. How we respond to these challenges determines the outcome. Story-writing is an effective way to promote self-healing and make our life experience count. The catalyst for writing a story can come from unexpected sources. For Loretta, it was a reading with a psychic.
Writing a book had always been on my bucket list and coincidentally so was a reading with psychic medium. In October 2018 both dreams became a reality.
A psychic reading can be an intense experience, and from the moment we met the ‘wow’ moments began. The psychic described the exact layout of my house; right down to the different flooring and lighting, and she described the precise spot that my grandmother was standing. I was blown away! Soon she mentioned that my son was experiencing learning difficulties and told me not to worry.
My beautiful, sweet, cheeky three-year-old son, George, has significant developmental delays. My husband Brett and I have always been protective of George’s privacy and, for example, we do not post photographs of him on social media.
We first became aware of George’s delays when he was aged two. He had very poor eye contact, was not responding to his name, and was babbling, but had not said any words. Since then we have navigated GPs, maternal health nurses, paediatricians, occupational therapists, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and speech therapists to get the help that George needs to kickstart his development. Getting to this point has been a long process and there have been some really tough days.
One of the biggest issues is George’s speech, or lack thereof. George is non-verbal, and this is difficult for some people to grasp. He does not use any words. Despite this, over the past year and a half of therapies, George’s communication has progressed in leaps and bounds. He is able to communicate his wants and needs without being completely overcome with frustration, but he has not said any words – yet.
During the reading, the psychic touched on my love for writing that I had shared with my grandmother and said that my grandmother had a message for me. It was time for me to start writing my book. I scoffed. The psychic told me not to brush it off and that I knew what I should write about. By nature, I have an expressive face and the psychic could see that I was confused. “Your son!” she said. “You need to write about your experience with your son!”
A Lesson in Patience
The psychic reading had an emotional effect on me, and the writing of A Lesson in Patience has been the same. Penning such a personal story, especially one that I keep so private, has been difficult; but it also has been cathartic and empowering. I wrote at every opportunity around my client work and had some very late nights, but have loved every minute.
My experience raising a child with developmental delays has made me stronger and forced me to fight for my son. I have created a network of professionals that support us and can help him grow; and I have pushed hard to get the resources that he desperately needs. The book writing process also has brought me acceptance.
It’s hard for a parent not to compare their child to others, and if there is any sort of delay, feelings of jealousy, isolation and even embarrassment can arise. I have always tried to remain positive and at the end of the day, my son is happy, heathy and doing the best that he can do. He just hasn’t reached some of those milestones – yet.
Struggle brings strength
I have shared my story in A Lesson in Patience to hopefully encourage people that are in a similar situation, but also to bring awareness to people who aren’t aware of developmental delays or how they might present. My story illustrates the importance and right of every child to be loved and accepted regardless of their level of development. Parenting is hard, but through struggle brings strength. My son has taught me love beyond measure, empowerment, confidence and most importantly, patience.
George has the power to make everything better. He has completely re-aligned my priorities. I am a better version of me because of him. I have had to push to get access to services and create a support network to aid with his development. It has made me feel empowered and confident enough to navigate a path not knowing where it leads. George is taking longer to reach milestones and it is forcing me to be more patient than I’ve ever known.
Faith, persistence and positivity
I have learned much about communication, sensory processing, and various stages of development and it has helped me become more aware of George’s needs and frustrations. With faith, persistence and positivity, I believe everything will work out and all of the challenges we have faced, have strengthened my family. For this I am grateful.
Throughout the writing process I have had to re-live some poignant moments in my journey with my son, some have been quite painful. I recall a particular moment with a health professional that was incredibly difficult at the time and whilst writing about this experience, those emotions came to the surface. I was reliving the emotions that I had on the day and was angry and I felt exposed and raw. I think I needed to feel this again to put it behind me and accept the difficulties have been the biggest catalyst for change. I have kept a journal for George from the moment I fell pregnant with him and reading this helps me reflect on how far we’ve come. I hope that it will do the same for him in years to come and that when times are tough, he can look his journal and see what he achieved with his early challenges.
If you are a parent who is noticing some little differences in your child, I want you to know that there are parents out there just like you. Grow your network. You will need to work hard but the rewards are worth every effort you make, and there are people out there who can help you. You are not alone.