I can’t read 12

Yesterday my father in law sent James and I a book. The book in question is called Living with Jonathan by Sheila Barton. A book about parenting autism. Her story and her journey with her little Jonathan. From reading the blurb on the back, I knew I would relate to her story and looked forward to reading it. My darling father in law has introduced me to quite a few books, shows, interviews and factual documents about autism over the past year or so. Each one I accept, thankful for how much he care’s, yet I cant read any of them. This particular book, I got to page 7 before I had to put it down. It was the book or my tears.

I can't read

As I sit with an abandoned book at my side, compelled to write, I have a heavy heart and water filled eyes. I want to read but I just can’t. It hurts. Deep inside. I’m filled with fear, grief, guilt, pride, loneliness and love. As I’m reading about a scenario that is met with utter patience and compassion I cant help but look at my own parenting skills. How I manage autism and how we as family consider Hayden’s needs with what we do or do not do. How much my other children are affected by his differences and whether life will get easier in the future.

A year ago my father in law introduced me to a book called The Reason I Jump. Written by a Japanese boy that has found alternative ways to communicate who wanted to share the reasons for some of his behaviours. That night I read half of the entire book. My eyes filled with tears by page two. I felt guilty. Guilty that I had disregarded so many of Hayden’s quirks as annoying behaviours. Things that made me cross and caused me to unintentionally raise my voice and make my misunderstood son cry. That book still sits unfinished.

Whilst I question my parenting, just as much as any parent on the planet, I know I am doing my best. Some days are good, some days are bad, the same as every other household. I can’t do better than my best. But sometimes I can better myself, and that isn’t a bad thing either.

I can’t read anything about autism anymore, whether it be educational articles or factual novels. I also cannot bring myself to read about developmental milestones. I question things about Kinley on a daily basis yet I am scared to look anything up. I fear I’ll read something the makes me start believing he is also autistic. I have no idea what a 16 month old should be doing. And I’m not going to find out any time soon.

Reading blog posts, however, I am fine with. Maybe because I have to as part of the Spectrum Sunday linky I host. Would I search out those posts without my linky? I’m not sure. Am I supporting these writers just because of my linky? No; I am supporting them as bloggers and parents, feeling, experiencing and doubting similar things to me. Reading about how other parents manage their day to day life is what I enjoy. Although many of the autism related posts have been read through watery eyes.

Is this part of the acceptance process? Is this something I will ever overcome? Will I be able to one day sit and read a book that fills my heart with warmth, love, and familiarity? Or will I always find these pieces of literature hard to swallow?



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12 thoughts on “I can’t read

  • James

    A very honest post Clare, but please don’t be so hard on yourself!

    Everyone is different. All of our children are different and so are we. Which means acceptance is different for all of us. I love reading books, blog posts, etc, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me cry, or judge myself.

    We’re all doing the best we can, and if it’s too much for you right now then that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to read a book next week, next month, next year. xx

  • Tracy

    Everybody’s journey is different lovely. There are so many books out there now and some are heartening to read and others break your heart. On a good day, I could read anything but on the bad days when The Boy is screaming in my face and slamming the door until it breaks, I can’t face it because those are the days that make me worry about the future. When he’s happy, I’m happy. In time you might well be able to read those books and it will be the right time. Now isn’t the right time so leave them to gather a bit of dust until you feel ready. Lots of love X

  • Stephs Two Girls

    I totally know what you mean with this. There’s a struggle between the relief of realising that you are not alone, and the grief of having your life confirmed in a way, that is just so emotional. At some point I got past the stage of being able to read too, and the pile of books on my bedside table grew dustier and dustier. It took a long while, but eventually I was able to just remove the pile without getting through it, and I realised that no-one has a life quite like ours so we just have to do the best we can at living it to the fullest. That was a process over years though! I now only read those kind of books when I really want to – which is rarely 🙂 Blog posts are easier to read, short insights into lives of others which you can hopefully comment on and interact with – all part of the acceptance process I’d say x

  • Mummymelton

    I think it is natural to worry & question whether you’re doing things right. I think those books can be a great help but also maybe a little bit of a hindrance & they do make you question yourself even more than normal. If you don’t want to read them, don’t. Every child is different, whether they have autism or not. You know your child better than anyone (or any book) xx

  • Becky at PinksCharming

    Thanks so much for your honesty, I’m sure many parents are feeling the same way, at one point or another. Maybe one day you will be able to read the books your father in law has so kindly found for you, but even if you don’t, try not to feel guilty, you have to work through things in your own way, and in your own time. xxx

  • Amanda

    I think it’s part of parenting to question and doubt yourself. I think it makes us better parents to want to do better, this means we only want the best for our children. Also if I didn’t feel guilty about something where my son is concerned it would be a strange day. I went the other way and have read and googled so many things I sometimes worry I push Ryan too much rather than just let him be but then worry I’d be judged a lazy parent or that I’m not teaching him enough or I’m not keeping him entertained enough during the day. I think whether your kids has autism or not the best parents will worry, feel guilt and self doubt and constantly wish to do better and I hope it helps to know that reading your post when I can is probably what keeps me sane and makes me feel normal as a parent it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only crazy mum out there over worrying about there parenting skills so for that I thank you ps try not get to twitchy over my lack of punctuation lol

  • mummy/nannan

    Another great post babe’s. Please don’t feel guilty you have no reason. You are doing a great job with all three boys. I would love to read the book you are on about. Autism is talker about more than it ever has been so acceptance is growing for autistic people which will help in the future. keep up the fabulous job .