I’m Kristy and I’m a Mum and Step mum to four bright and vivacious girls- Dakota 19, Shannon 12, Rory 7 and Mackenna 4.
I’m also the Director of inTune Pathways-Early Childhood Behavioural, Diversity and Family Specialists. I work with parents and professionals to better understand and radically accept children who are neurodiverse through translating their behaviour and understanding it as a form of communication.
Natalie: What are some words to describe Dakota, Shannon, Rory & Mackenna? What do you love about them?
Kristy: Strong willed! Strong spirited, spiritually evolved (definitely been here before), perspective changing, awakening, energetically liberated, free… yet, regularly challenged by all of the same earth bound concepts, ideals and relationships with others that we all contend with on a daily basis. True and absolute beauty.
Natalie: How did your journey begin with your girls (what was going on through your mind and heart during this time)?
Kristy: My two older daughters were 11 and 5 when Rory (now 7) came along. I remember so vividly the moment she was born. I sat, holding her and we stared into eachother’s eyes and I knew. I felt a very different energy in the room and I knew all of our lives were about to change.
I knew Rory was different. A totally new experience.
Over the coming months her development changed a lot. By 12 months, her development regressed and she lost all of her words and eye contact. It was single handedly the most devastating and painful experience of my entire life. It changed all of us, in harsh and brutal ways. It challenged me particularly in so many ways-no stone left unturned in terms of the need to change-perspectives, priorities, relationships, hopes and dreams, everything.
And, although it was a time that is extremely difficult for me to revisit, she has been the most incredible gift in so many ways. Oh, in so many ways.
Life is so different. Clearer. No time for saying “one day”..I have never lived in the moment like I do now with my children.
Rory’s diagnosis led me into a new understanding of how and why the other girls were different in their own unique ways. But incredibly, her diagnosis led me to my own diagnosis which miraculously solved a lifetime of questions and ended a lot of introspective suffering for me.
Natalie: What is the name of the condition that they have? Can you share with us a little more about it?
Kristy: Autism. My eldest is not diagnosed. For the others, It’s so difficult to wrap up in a few words how Autism is expressed in each of them. On a clinical level, it is characterised by impairments in social, emotional and communicative development. But it runs so much deeper than just being a ‘condition’ with deficits.
It is incredible. It gifts my girls with greater intuition, kindness, deep compassion and care for others, a well of empathy, higher levels of creativity, intelligence that is immeasurable and uncategorically non standardised and a sensitivity that really is such a blessing to this world.
I am so honoured to be their Mother.
Natalie: What are your worries and wishes for your girls?
Kristy: My greatest worry is non acceptance. I see and am so grateful for the changes we are making as a society in our understanding and acceptance of those on the Autism spectrum. But I have experienced first hand the self rejection and loathing that comes with being rejected and misunderstood by others. As human beings, our relationship with ourselves is the pinnacle to healthy relationships with others, connecting to our knowing and intuition and instilling true happiness in life; knowing who we are and where we fit.
We attract the right people, places and things to ourselves when we are able to accept and love ourselves.
People on the spectrum are so sensitive to the energies, judgements, intentions and words of others-they have a lifelong impact; both when they are positive and nurturing and when they are negative.
I wish for my daughters to know-to truly KNOW their worth, their beauty and their perfection just as they are. We all bring unique gifts and theirs alone have changed me as a human being more than anything else.
There are great challenges. And yes, I could delve into my fears for the future. However I make a choice everyday to live in the now..just today, just in this moment. That is, after all, the only now that I have. I refuse to live out my days from a place of fear. It’s robbing me of any chance at happiness and in turn, robbing my girls of the opportunity to thrive.
Natalie: I’m passionate about the special needs and self care connection. Raising a child with a diagnosis can bring some big challenges, how do you cope through the tough days? Are there any self care practices that helped you on your journey?
Kristy: Yeah- self care is paramount. I had to burn out a multitude of times over the years to actually know this. Again, it’s about challenging our current understandings, perceptions and mostly social conditioning. It is NOT selfish to care for ourselves as Mothers. It is imperative that we do this..we are modelling to our children how to be, think and do. If we spend our lives burning out, not coping and unhappy, we pass on this legacy to our children. We teach them that life is by default, difficult, sad and exhausting.
I learnt to tune in. To tune in to what my body tells me and to what the universe (God, source, Buddha, etc) tells me. I journal, I share what I’m learning, I connect with other Mums. I sleep where I can, I practice eating well, I write music, I sing, I indulge in silliness..SO. MUCH. SILLINESS.
I had to let go of people, places and things that were hurting me. There is no room left for that stuff anymore. I cry a lot when I need to. I scream in my car when I need to (sometimes so loud I almost pee my pants).
Most of all, I extend to myself the same kindness, patience, tolerance and compassion that I extend to my children. I’m just a human and boy do I make mistakes. Doozies.
I also consciously do not live from the doom and gloom narrative. Does that mean I’m in denial? No. Absolutely not. I feel and fear and battle all of the demons that many other parents and children on the autism spectrum do, but I choose the narrative of hope and love and that is where we live from.
I don’t wake up each day consumed by all the challenges that may or may not occur. I just get on with it. And when it all feels too hard, I refer back to the strategies I mentioned above.
There are no absolutes in life.
Natalie: What advice would you give a mum who is beginning her journey after receiving her child’s diagnosis?
Kristy: Oh gosh. Bathe in love..love from yourself, from others. Seek us out, we’re here..ready to welcome you and embrace you. Professionals are important but they’re not always right. Nobody can predict your future or that of your child. Tune in, connect with your little one on their terms. Don’t fight what is..it will result in more suffering. Allow yourself to grieve whatever it is that hurts. Give yourself time. Please know, please believe, please understand that you have been gifted and blessed with your child. You will come to see this if you allow it. Non verbal does not equate to non intelligence, non coherence or non competence. If anybody tells you this, or anything else that doesn’t feel right, ignore it. Feel into what you know about your child and what your child shows you and teaches you about them.
That’s where the truth lies. Anything else is just guess work.
Natalie: What are some lessons and blessings you have learnt since becoming their mum? How has it changed you as a person?
Kirsty: How can I answer this? Wow. I’ve slowed down. I’ve weeded out the harmful people, places and things. I’ve made time for more time. I’ve become the most authentic version of myself and that is always evolving. I know what’s truly important now. I have everything I ever wanted in a way that I never thought I’d survive. I’m ready for anything. I share more of my true self. I let others see who I really am. I laugh more. I cry more. I finally know that pain and sadness will not kill me. Everything passes.
Natalie: Outside your motherhood role, what lights you up, what are your passions?
Kirsty: Music! Singing, writing, dancing, nature. Food, laughter, books, trashy tele, silence, sitting in my car and reflecting, connection with others, working with families and children.
Natalie: Do you have a favorite quote, prayer, or piece of miracle inspiration that you would like to leave us with?
Kristy: Oh yes. This one changed everything for me:
Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold: the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear,
and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with grace that washes through your days whether you received it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace and certain transformation.
Thank you so much Kirsty for sharing your incredible journey with us.
If you would like to share your miracle moments and special needs journey, please get in touch here.
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