I am a Widow and a Mother to two kids with Autism

Written by Lara Vatta, mum blogger of One Piece At A Time

Baby Goes Retro

Widow and Mother to two kids with Autism

When I was asked to write a guest blog post for New Age Parenting eMagazine, I wasn’t sure what to write about. It left me thinking what do people want to know? I am no expert, I just write my blog from my perspective as a widow and sole parent to two kids with Autism. So I thought I would talk about what got me started in writing my blog and why sharing our autism journey is so important.

I am writing this today ( 6th October ) which would have been our 11 year wedding anniversary but these days always leave me a little broken. October for me starts 3 months of bittersweet anniversaries since my husband passed away.
November 17th will be 3 years since the day that my world was tipped upside down.

Then comes both my kids birthdays, they are both born in December ( 10 days apart ). For me, my kids birthdays are the hardest. They should be happy days, but they are hard because the man I had these kids with is no longer here to watch them grow up. Then comes Christmas, another day that I just try to avoid and focus on my kid’s happiness and the joys that come with opening presents etc.

I have also learned that thinking about the good days does dull the pain a little bit of what we are missing. I do always wonder what life would be like if my husband was still alive today. To be honest, sometimes I can never answer as this is my life now and what was will not ever be possible now.

Here is a bit of background information about me.

In 2004, I met my soul mate on an online dating site. We clicked instantly, and we were married 2 years later, and things were great!

In December 2008, our daughter Allegra was born. She made our life complete. Not even a week after our daughter was born, my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was a very stressful and emotional time but luckily, he went into remission within 6 months and things were looking great again.

In October 2011, Allegra was diagnosed with moderate Autism, with severe language delay. At the time, I didn’t know much about autism but knew I had to help my daughter. So we started early intervention. To think how far she has come since her diagnosis is amazing. She attends a wonderful special needs school and has a great support network.

What should be my happiest year ended up being one of my hardest. In April 2014, we found out we were pregnant with our second child, a boy, something we thought would never be possible due to the chemotherapy used to treat my husband’s cancer.

Unfortunately, in November 2014, my world was tipped upside down. My husband passed away suddenly due to a heart condition possibly caused by the cancer treatment he had received years prior. At the time, I was 34 weeks pregnant, with our son and I felt completely lost. Harrison’s entry into the world didn’t come smoothly either just to add to what I was already going through. But luckily, listening to my body and feeling something wasn’t right, I avoided an even bigger tragedy and I will always be grateful to the awesome staff at the hospital. Harrison was safely delivered via an emergency C-section after undergoing foetal distress.

To be honest, I spent a lot of time feeling sad and sorry for myself even though there was so much to be positive about. I was very angry with the world for quite some time. I knew something had to change. So I started being creative again. Before I had my kids, I was a Graphic Designer. I missed being creative. I would have to say, I am happy being creative again, it has definitely helped lift the depression I was feeling since my husband passed away. I am now learning to make the most out of the cards life has dealt me.

I decided to start a blog and share our autism journey after my son was diagnosed in August of this year. He was diagnosed with moderate Autism with a language delay. Both my kids have received a similar diagnosis but are both so different. Allegra is non-verbal, she has some words. She also suffers from anxiety and is a sensory seeker. Harrison is more verbal but still, has a delay. He repeats a lot of what he hears also known as Echolalia. He has some aggressive behaviours and he is sensory defensive. They are both routine driven and don’t accept change very well.

I thought by sharing our story it may help others who are in a similar situation know that there are people going through exactly the same thing and that they are not alone. Whether it is a new autism diagnosis or being recently widowed.

I would never have thought that it would also help me too. By writing my blog, I get the chance to get out of my head what has been in there for so long. It has really been therapeutic, to be completely honest.

I am able to share my story so openly and honestly because I live it every day. If I can help one person, then I have achieved something. I have had my doubts about sharing it, as it is completely out of my comfort zone, but people I have met along the journey so far have been awesome. For this, I will be forever thankful for this journey can definitely be isolating but to know there are people out there who understand is very comforting.

If you have enjoyed reading this and found it helpful and would like to follow our autism journey, please come and follow us!

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