8 years ago today, 22 years old,
34 weeks pregnant with Master 7,
Master 2 (now 10) on the verge of an autism diagnosis,
Scared out of my irrational mind,
We packed up our lives & moved across the country from everyone & everything we knew..
Today we have been in WA for 8 years.
What a roller coaster it’s been.
But I’d do it all again in a second.
For the first 2 years in WA I was fucking miserable. Scarily sad. Not something I had experienced before. I have never felt more alone, lost or vulnerable in my 30 years than I did during those 2 years.
I had no friends.
We had no play dates.
Autism consumed my every thought.
And not positively. I was trapped in my negativity.
I felt like I had moved to a foreign country.
I had no idea if my son would ever talk to me.
I had no idea how I would ever get through it.
I had a beautiful new baby boy whose first year I struggle to remember because there was constant fog in my face.
I had the gorgeous Fathership who had no idea how to help me but desperately wanted to.
I always thought he would be the one to cave to the reality of moving so far away.
I had family here so I thought I’d shit it in.
I gave him 6 months.
It was the complete opposite.
I fucking hated my new life.
He was thriving.
I was drowning. Slowly but surely.
My Mum came with us when we moved, hesitantly & very scared, but we are a package. It was a given.
And she was the same.
They were both loving life.
And all I could think about was leaving life.
And then Master 10 started school.
I tried to get him into another school but they’d filled their “special needs quota” already apparently.
24 year old me said “Ok no worries, thank you anyway”. 30 year old me now says “What a crock of cowshit”.
But it ended up being the biggest blessing of all.
He attended an autism specific Kindergarten & a mainstream kindergarten. Half a week of each. This is not something we could of accessed at that time if we hadn’t moved.
And it changed our whole lives. Forever grateful.
At the autism kindergarten, I met some mothers who, for the first time, actually got it. They fucking got it. It was the first time the fog began to lift for me. It was the first time I realised I wasn’t alone, even if that’s how I felt sometimes. I wasn’t the only one grieving for the child I thought I would have but still managing to put my heart & soul into helping them while losing myself.
At mainstream kindergarten, I met some Mothers who were so kind. This was a tough year, but I knew I wasn’t being judged. This was important to me. I know sending your beautiful child off to school is an enormous step. Trust me when I say that sending your beautiful child to school who has additional needs is fucking brutal.
When you combine that with little support in a foreign place, you have to be very careful not to let your world fall apart. Mine was on the edge.
One night I went to dinner with a group of the mainstream Mums. I had kept relatively to myself so didn’t know anyone well.
But they were kind & I was lonely.
I had nothing to lose.
And it turns out, I gained so much.
It was a crazy night & I fit right in.
Friends are so important to me. As a single child, they have always been my chosen siblings. I adore them. I actually can’t cope without them. And I would hope that I’m a good friend. I knew that once I found “my tribe’, everything would feel better.
And fuck I was right.. Of course!
Life in WA started to turn around then.
I had made some friends. Who are now some of the best friends that I’ll ever have! Friends I would never of known had we not taken that huge leap.
Master 10 come out of nappies. I was so scared I would still be wiping his bum at 25. I was so naive.
And he started to talk. Fuck, what a moment that was.
Without the therapy & access to services that he was so lucky to receive in WA, that our home state didn’t offer, I think we all would of been fucked.
I miss my home. I always will.
The people I love back home are my forever people, I could live in Antartica & we would still be connected for life. Nothing ever changes with us. Distance has strengthened the bond. And I am so lucky to have some familiar faces that I love, now living here too.
Tasmania is my home. But WA is my families home.
2 out of 3 of my children have been born here. I was born here too. It’s in our blood.
I wish I could go back in time & tell that very scared 22 year old young woman who cried from the second she stepped on the plane, that this was going to be the best thing she could ever do for her family & future.
I wish I could tell her that you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.
I wish I could reassure her that everything would be absolutely fine.
That in 8 years time I wouldn’t be able to imagine living anywhere else.
Except the Bahamas, of course!
I am so proud of us.
Happy Anniversary WA.
Thank you for changing me & our lives.