As I sit here on the eve of the 1-year anniversary of my BLOG what does it all mean? I set out to share the story of my family and what it looks like to raise a child with severe autism. I wanted to give people an inside look at our day to day life, including its challenges, victories, heartaches and loads of love. My BLOG is not only about Keyan but my whole family. I have provided snippets of how I feel, where I struggle and why I continue to do the work I do. I want people to realize that raising an individual with an autism spectrum disorder is extremely complex. What I learned in the process is that I need this BLOG. I need it as a means to express myself and to feel less alone on this journey. I have learned that people are interested in knowing more and genuinely want to support me.
In tandem I have created A Mama Bear brand to help mom’s out there to SHINE – to show off their Mama Bear Pride. It’s a reminder to all that regardless of what our journey as mom looks like there are common thread’s that bind us together. As mom’s it is easy to love but hard to let go. We have to trust that those who love us will be there to support us. I have reluctantly learned that asking for help is key. I have had to ask for help a lot over the years, despite being raised to be independent. The saying “it takes a village” holds very true when raising a child with special needs. A special thank you to all my family and friends who have been there for us over the years.
I have also been granted the gift of raising a normal developing child at the same time. As parents we work hard to ensure that Manisha gets what she needs; physically, intellectually and emotionally. I am conscious that it is not easy for her to have a brother who loves her but takes no sincere interest in her. Being a mom is all I ever wanted so when it comes to parenting I give my children all that I am. It sounds cliché but being a mom is the most important work I do. I can’t do it alone and lucky for me I have an incredibly supportive husband. Together we face adversity but have also managed to create a pretty wonderful life – the beautiful family we have created together is everything!
I will continue to write my BLOG – not only because I need it but because I have countless people tell me that at one point or another it has helped them solider on, in their own journey. The fact that my work helps fills me with a huge sense of purpose and pride. The more I write the more people understand that the work I do is important and relevant to our times. Autism has been on a steady rise and services provided weak. I need to continue to be the “voice for the voiceless” – for those who need help but can extend themselves beyond what they already do to take care of their families. For those who have trusted me with their children it has been the hardest but most rewarding work. Like I wrote in my last BLOG I am just getting started. I will continue to fight for what families need. The last 10 years as the head of S.Au.S. I have learned so much, I have grown up and I have challenged myself to go to the depths to secure a future for Keyan (and others just like him).
I have highlighted the women I call my tribe. It is because of them I have been able to do the work I do. I am grateful for all the love and support I have received on this crazy chaotic roller coaster ride. My hope is that my BLOG inspires you to take a deeper look into your own lives and know that at any time you have the power to affect change. I truly believe you can “be the change you wish to see in the world” – I am living proof of that.
My dear Keyan came into my life for a reason. He came into our lives to teach us that “every person born has the right to their best life possible” – before having our children, Kunal and I vowed to give our children the best of us. We will continue on that path always and forever until the end.
From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Over the past year I have heard some beautiful testimonies – some tearful and others joyous. My hope is that you will continue to read as a means to support my work, me as a person, me as a writer, friend, mom, wife and friend.