Our Guest-Ed Lana Tillack talks to us about finding the Magic in motherhood through journeying with a beautiful boy with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and taking care of herself.

Like most kids, Keston was born an exceptional little boy who loved interacting with people. But when he suddenly stopped talking and responding to his Dad and me calling out his name at the age of two, I knew something was wrong.

I had just started a new job, was pregnant with my second child and now feared something was wrong with Keston. 

My hubby and I scheduled an appointment with the paediatrician, who referred us to a neurologist who confirmed our worst fears were a reality and diagnosed Keston with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

I was angry at first and blamed myself for everything I may have done wrong while pregnant with Keston. I questioned God about why He would allow a sweet and innocent child to have such a condition. 

As a Mom, you want the best for your child and have dreams that one day they will lead a good life. I looked for answers and hope for Keston’s recovery through supportive mom bloggers with whom I had grown a relationship through the #InstaMama Community.

After no change in Keston’s behaviour, navigating Occupational Therapy through pandemic regulations and welcoming a newborn, I felt hopeless as a Mother. Retrenched within the same year reinforced that sense of hopelessness, especially while balancing caring for two kids at home while my husband worked six days a week. 

Oh, and don’t get me started on the guilt. Knowing that I was home most of the time and not contributing financially to the wellbeing of my family, I felt guilty about taking even a day off to do something for myself. 

A friend visited me and noticed my behaviour, attitude and appearance change. She shared that parenting isn’t easy and suggested I get someone to help me, which I initially dismissed due to financial reasons. Her words stayed with me, and her advice would lead to my healing and transformation. 

I began to take a day off from Motherhood once a week and started doing something for myself. Although I still felt guilty for “not doing enough” for my family, I knew I needed to work on my mental and physiological wellbeing.

Every day I fought the worst feelings of not being good enough. I consciously silenced the voices that tried to tell me that I was not enough as I was, and I began to pray to God and seek His help to restore my family and personal life.

I educated myself on ASD and, together with my family, enrolled Keston for ABA Therapy. 

Later I discovered an incredible school with a special needs unit, Bunnikins, that offered a safe place for my child to learn and play. 

Each day I noticed an improvement in Keston’s behaviour and started to understand him more as a child. He started communicating with pictures and engaged in meaningful play with Harper.

Although Keston requires immense support, he is also independent and can play on his own and run a marathon on the playground. He demonstrates courage when Harper is sad by reaching out and holding her little hand. There is not one unkind bone in Keston; he has taught me more as a parent.

 

I continued blogging and returned to corporate a year after being retrenched. Navigating my feelings of not being present every second of the day to develop my career and build my brand was tough. I had to remind myself continually that I am a better wife, mom, sister and daughter when I work and take a moment for myself. The gym became my second home when I started a fitness program to work on my physical and mental health. I began to see the world differently and noticed that my kids were happier with a healthier mom. 

 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mom to unicorns. Both my kids are magical and have taught me what it means to be brave.