My name is Jill and I have a 5-year-old son, Lucas. I was married ten years before I had my son at 31 years of age. I had finished a psychology degree and a master’s in counseling. I decided to start a family, stay at home a few years, then go back to work as a community counselor. Well all that changed when God placed Lucas in my life. It was truly life changing, in some ways good and others terrible. My marriage had it’s ups and downs before Lucas arrived, but his father, not dealing well with the autism diagnoses, did not help. We split up when our son was two. And now at five years old my ex husband is not much closer to accepting the life our son will have than he was three years ago when he was diagnosed.
I am fortunate that I have an education and a family to rely on. I decided last year to return to school to get my teacher certification and to work in the school systems rather than in my own practice so that I may be there when my son is out of school in summer and holidays. It is hard. I juggle so many things right now in order to provide for my son and still try to have a life. Dating has been interesting; I am fortunate that I have a wonderful man in my life that loves us both and is very accepting of my son just the way he is.
People ask me all the time How do you do it? I respond with a lot of faith, prayer, help from my family and autism awareness friends that understand how my life is. My son is verbal but can’t really tell you his needs; he can repeat words but will never tell you he is hungry, tired, hurt, etc. His father does provide financial support but very minimal emotional support and only keeps him a few days a month. Lucas is 5, not potty trained and very unaware of danger, so it is like having a 60 pound, 4 ft. tall infant.
I have come to terms with his future. I love him just the way he is and would not trade him for anything in the world. He is the light of my life and having him has made me a better person. My message to any of you who are having a rough go in your marriage is this: there is life out there if your marriage ends, and there are many people in this world who love and accept our children as they are, even if it is not the father. Have faith, do what you think is right, and always remember that if you are happy and stable, then your child will be too. I hope this helps- thanks for listening. Jill H.