Our son is lucky to be surrounded by the love of a wide network of extended family and friends. We live close to his grandmother, two aunties, an uncle, and two cousins. We have incredibly supportive friends and we live in a small, caring community. We use social media to keep us close to a large extended family overseas. Several months after we received our son’s diagnosis, following what may well have been a mild depression for both of us, we made a conscious decision to be more open about our son’s Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The first step was setting up a ‘secret’ Facebook page where we share specifics with a small number of people who have experience with similar issues or who are in regular contact with our son. As time went on, we started to blog and to speak more freely about it. It was only through being more open that we were then able to tap into this support system.
One of The Aunties volunteered to provide guest blog posts. As it turns out, her posts are being widely shared by other other families who find it difficult to have this conversation with their loved ones.
The Auntie is able to engage with our son differently than we can. They are lovely to watch together-zany, animated, full of song and silliness. As a trained actor, she is a role model for his singing, dancing, and performing. They bake and dig in the allotment. Sometimes they just sit together.
The Auntie has written that she did not fully understand the stresses we are under until I broke down in tears one day, and said that her brother regularly does the same. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable before we can access the help we need.
Recent blog posts by The Auntie (you can also do a search on the site for “The Auntie” to find her posts):
- Extended Family – Please Support, Don’t Judge FASD Parenting
- Extended family members can support the support
- INVOLVEMENT (An open letter to the extended families of a child with FASD)
- Respite (verb) – to grant a temporary period of relief