Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Early Intervention

What is it about the phrase "Early Intervention" that makes me feel like a failure, like a mom who just can't hack it, like I'm letting my kids down?

"I have a PhD, for crying out loud, why can't I fix this?", is one of the many ongoing accusatory conversations going on in my head.

Is it just me, or do all moms continually beat themselves up like this and hold themselves accountable for every little thing?

Since K's 9 month check up, we've been in catch up mode: catch up on weight, catch up on length, catch up on social skills, catch up on gross motor skills.  To her credit, she's actually accomplished a lot in a few weeks, even if it was delayed.  Scooting, crawling, sitting up, and lots of babbles.  But it wasn't enough and we sat through screening yesterday to see if she qualified for early intervention services.  Her communication skills were behind, just a little, and we're going to watch those to see if she catches up in the next few months.  Her gross motor skills had improved drastically and she was actually doing okay in that category, except for the way she places her feet, qualifying her for services to correct her atypical behavior.

Coming out of the appointment, my husband and I were in separate worlds.  To him, the appointment went great!  She showed them all the things she could do.  The two major deficiencies were either something we could watch and coach, or were physical and now she would see specialists that could help her.

As for me, I broke down crying as we walked out of the doctors office.  How could I have failed my baby so badly?

Its amazing how mother's guilt can take over and block out all rational thought.  Of course, my husband was right.  I didn't do anything to make her hold her feet funny.  But those thoughts couldn't break through the mommy-guilt.  Through the rest of the day, my emotions were just barely held back as I tried to focus on work.  Afterwards, I pick up the girls and hugged them both a little tighter than usual.

In the light of the next day, I'm feeling slightly better about what lies ahead, but there's still a nagging guilt just out of my line of sight.  I know in five years, none of this is going to matter and I'll be talking with her about gymnastics or ballet and she'll be just fine.  I'm just going to need a pep talk or two along the way to keep drowning in my own guilt.

I should mention that K did awesome in some categories, putting her achievement beyond her age, like in the receptive communication skills and fine motor skills.  All together, its a lesson to me that we all excel at some things and not others.  I guess that starts very early in life!

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