When you carry your little one snuggly under your heart, you’re envisioning their face, their 10 fingers and toes, their smell, their smiles etc. What you’re not thinking about is the possibility that one day they may hit a bump in the road and it’s not something they can just “outgrow”.
You have a sneaking suspicion that something is just a little off. You begin to wonder if you’ve read too many online articles or if you’re just paranoid. But constant observation only confirms what deep down in your heart you already know. The only step now is to make it official.
I admit that I was a person who thought that ADHD was maybe society’s way of writing off hyper little boys. A reason to pump our little ones full of drugs because parents are too tired to be concerned. But then all of that changed when I became a stay at home mom.
I always thought my little guy was just a busy body. By the age of 4 we’d already had two ER trips under our belt which resulted in stitches and glue. ‘Boys will be boys’ was the mantra everyone repeated to me. But then I began to notice he forgot everything. I could tell him a set of instructions and less than 30 seconds later he’d run back asking me to repeat them. I wrote it off for awhile.
By 6 years of age I began to notice he could not stop fidgeting. Coupled with his inability to focus on much of anything even if it was something he liked; the warning bells were ringing. But people I talked to made me feel as if I was being a brainwashed mother.
By 7 his teachers were calling. Not to say he was bad; quite the contrary. They loved him, he was smart, an honor roll student, an avid reader, he was brilliant! But he couldn’t sit still, and his emotional outbursts were becoming more prevalent. And I knew they weren’t embellishing because I was watching the same behaviors manifest at home.
I scheduled his appointment with a doctor who had great reviews. I filled out assessments and waited for the doctor to make his own. My little guy did not disappoint with his performance because he bounced off that doctors office walls as if he were fueled by some unknown energy. His doctor was calm and nonjudgmental. His prognosis was positive, after all it wasn’t cancer. But then came the treatment plan.
He suggested behavioral therapy and meds. There was the ugly word. Medication. I’ve heard all the opinions, read all the articles, I knew that medicating a child was the unpopular vote among mother’s especially in the black community. The stigma that follows our culture when it comes to any behavioral or mental health is one that is not in favor of medication. Then there was my Bear, my husband who was totally against meds right away.
Instead we made the mutual agreement to try just the behavioral therapy. How did that work out?
It’s almost a year later and I’ve watched my son’s habits and frustrations in his behaviors grow. I’ve received more phone calls from teachers explaining how he is so disorganized that he’s forgetting things. Most importantly he had expressed his frustrations with his inability to control his behaviors. That was at the point when my maternal instincts were screaming at me: DO WHAT YOU NEED TO MOMMY!
After many tears and a convo with Bear we have set the wheels in motion to begin medication. We’re still doing therapy but now it’s time to have some additional help. As a person who is medicated for my own mental health; I understand that this journey can be trying.
My goal is for him to understand that he is loved and supported no matter what. The use of medication does not make him or his parents weak. When I look at my little guy I still see him as my baby; that I carried under my heart. And no amount of diagnosis or meds is ever going to change that.