A “Sense of Loss”- GOALS REDEFINED? PART 1
I took a taxi two weeks ago, the driver to make conversation just asked, “so what do you do”? In a split second, I was going to respond with “I am a mum and a carer for my youngest daughter, who has got a disability”.…but then I recalled, I should start to talk about OAK, so I said…” I am a Christian life coach; I coach carers as I am also one”. I reflected on this very brief exchange afterwards and it dawned on me that I am quite comfortable introducing myself as simply ‘mum’ or ‘carer’ without any other ring to it. Then I thought, ‘eureka’ it took 10 years, but I’m finally FREE!!!
You see, I used to attach so much importance to status. I demanded so much from myself and from life. I was a planner- I had my life figured out on an organogram (the different parts to me clearly structured out); and what I will achieve was clear in my mind. I will set yearly goals, 5 years plan, 10 years plan …the common words in my vocabulary then were accomplishment, professionalism, competency, driven, highflyer and so on. I demanded this from myself and I taught people around me the same.
My definition of success however, was “having it all”- spiritual, family, career, finances, health and social life at the same time. As far as I was concerned, all these areas of my life must always be sound and positive for me to be successful. I didn’t want one at the expense of the other. I had a good home, job, involved in different spiritual activities in church and seemingly life was progressing nicely. My so-called success at that time was however, at the expense of so many other things that mattered, the cost was too high. You could say I was climbing the ladder of success, it just happened unfortunately though, that my ladder was leaning on the wrong wall.
It could be quite challenging to care for a child with disability. This role calls every fibre of your being into question. It challenges your outlook to life; visions go dim and dreams could be totally forgotten as our reality demands totally different priorities.
Coming into this terrain 10 years ago my priorities changed to;
- making decisions that dictated life and death for an 18 months old baby,
- meeting up with hospital appointments,
- handling several emergency admissions,
- co-ordinating the family’s relocation and practically starting all over,
- running a home with a 5- and 3-year olds
- understanding new diagnosis
- dealing with professionals tutoring us about what the ‘new life’ is going to be like (that is about 13 different teams by the way ?)
- All the above and more, including completing a Master’s program in a totally different field!
How did I navigate this terrain then? What were the fall outs? What happened to my goals/plans? How did we cope…did we? Is it realistic for Carers to dream? Do we, as Carers just go with the flow? What worked?
Stay with me on this topic…look out for PART 2 ?