Last year I made a phone call. A phone call that no mother should have to make. I rang social services. I told them I needed help. Help with my own son, because actually, things were getting tough & Freddies care was taking over our family life.
9 months & quite a fight later we received a letter agreeing that they would allocate us 5 hours a week respite with a special needs childminder. Social services are now in the process of hiring a childminder on our behalf. I’m sure I should feel happy about this. After all it’s what I wanted, isn’t it? so why do I feel full of guilt?
I’ve only ever really been away from Freddie once. He was poorly & in hospital. We had been there for a few weeks & my partner had been taking alot of time off work to care for Evie while I was with Freddie. But there was only so much time he could take off work. This one evening he was due to be on a night shift so I left Freddie at hospital by himself & came home. I kept telling myself it would be good for me & I needed a break & a good night sleep. But I spent the whole time crying & was straight back down there the next morning. Obviously Freddie was fine & was in very good hands with the nurses in the hospital but he was my responsibility & he needed me to be there with him and ever since then that’s the ways it’s been. Freddie is a part of me, where I go he goes.
I feel very apprehensive about leaving Freddie with a childminder. Will they feed him properly? Will they do his med doses right? will they supervise him properly? Will they understand what he needs? I feel guilty that while hes in somebodies else care i’ll be having a break & I feel a bit like a failure for having to admit I need help.
I think it’s hard for any parent to leave their child. Evie will start nursery in September & i’m sure I will find it hard to leave her but with Freddie I feel alot more anxious about it. He relys on me for every aspect of his care & who ever I entrust to look after him will have to take over this role with no room for error. Medicine doses must be exact & not forgotten, tube feeding must be done correctly, puree feeding must be done tactfully without forcing him to take it in anyway & he must be supervised at all times to avoid him hurting himself.
Really I should be grateful that we are receiving help. I’ve heard many stories where parents of disabled children are refused any form of respite. It will give me chance to spend some much needed time with my daughter but…I want my son there too. Half of me will be missing.
I feel like i’ll never be able to get the balance right. If I send Freddie to respite care Evie will get the attention she deserves off me, one on one, but at the same time I feel like i’ll be letting Freddie down. If I don’t send Freddie to respite he continues to get the care from me that he deserves but Evie misses out on one on one mummy time.