I built a wall after my son was diagnosed with autism

//I built a wall after my son was diagnosed with autism

CityMom Alicia came to us with the experience of learning her son had special needs, and we listened. Listened because so many moms walk new paths every day through parenting that they didn’t expect and frankly, don’t know how to face. Listened because Alicia has been a member of theCityMoms for years and we love her. Listened because she needed listening ears… And because her words might scream YOU and THIS IS MY LIFE, she agreed to share her story in this post. Alicia will become a regular contributor here at theCityMoms.org but for now, please read on:


My son was diagnosed with autism in April 2017. With a background in psychology, it really didn’t come as a surprise. I think I had my suspicions for a while.

autism - theCityMoms

But to my mommy brain and heart, my world flipped upside down.

It is hard on the human heart to change the dreams and goals we have for ourselves and our families. Ever since his diagnosis, I have been building a wall around us.

… I have cancelled countless plans with friends and appointments for myself. {I think my dentist hates me.}

… I skip day after day of workouts.

… I find it hard to even focus on my work for my masters degree.

… I wake up in the morning planning how to get to the various therapy sessions and how to get home quickly.

The once extraverted and social seeking person is no longer there. 

But for some reason, I actually said yes to spend time with an old friend this weekend. She has a child with special needs too. The moment I saw her, I wanted to cry and unload everything I’ve held in for over a year now. I knew my heart had finally found someone who understands more than shooting me a sympathetic look. Our hearts spoke to each other during those two hours we spent together. She knew my countless hours of worrying, praying and tears. She understands the effort that went into obtaining services for our children. She experiences the work it is to just get out of the house some days.

During our conversations, she finally asked me, “Alicia, do you spend much time with other moms or friends?” In that moment, it dawned on me how I had built up my walls against other people during the past year and a half. I quietly answered, “Actually, no.”

As I drove home, I began to tally all the ways I have avoided people in the past year.

In fact, the only person I really talk to on a routine basis is my mother. I also realized what a disservice I am doing to not only myself but also to my son. In my mommy brain, I am protecting him from the horrors associated with the stares and loud noises of busy places. But how will he grow if he lives in a bubble? How will I grow if I never have any contact with anyone?


MORE SUPPORT FOR MOMS OF SPECIAL NEEDS KIDDOS: Meet Synapse Sitters, a service for children with special needs


I am going to try to be more social and pick up the pieces of my shattered social life. Of course, there are just things we can’t do. And of course, there are days we will both need a break. But this weekend has made my realized we were not meant to walk this journey alone. Whether you are a stay-at-home, working, special needs, or any kind of mom, you deserve friendship and love. I’m so thankful to my friend for speaking up and asking the hard questions.

I hope you have a great week. And if you need an AMAZING mom tribe, check out the theCityMoms. I have been a member since my son was born. While we haven’t attended any of the great events held my theCityMoms recently {and hope to start getting back into the swing of things}, they have an amazing online Facebook group for members that is willing and ready to support and love you any time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alicia Hazelwood - theCityMomsAlicia Hazelwood is pretty sure she will never actually graduate from school. She is currently pursing her Ph.D. in educational psychology with a focus in online learning.

When she’s not knee-deep in research, Alicia serves in her favorite role as mommy to her four year old son.

She enjoys crafting, Costco and chasing a good coupon deal. She uses cycling and running to compensate for her love of eating too many tacos.

2018-07-15T12:09:51-05:00July 15th, 2018|
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