Above and beyond normal parenting.
“It can take a long time to emotionally grapple with the words ‘disability’ and ‘carer’. They’re big words to come to term with,” said Catherine.
Catherine’s son, Luke, was diagnosed with autism in 2020. Her second child, Ben, was later diagnosed with developmental delay and is currently undergoing the autism spectrum disorder diagnostic proccess.
“Having a child with additional needs is really above and beyond normal parenting.
“When I look at my to-do-list, my email inbox, my calendar, 90 to 99% is probably to do with the boys’ additional needs.”
Catherine explains that on top of all the logistical and practical demands of being a carer, there is also an emotional pain that isn’t always spoken about.
“Luke has never actually been able to tell me he loves me because he actually can’t say those words and that is heartbreaking.”
Becoming a carer is something most people don’t anticipate happening, Catherine goes on to describe.
“It’s a role that we didn’t ask for, that we didn’t choose, and it’s been thrown on us and we are coping with it as best we can.
“Disability, mental illness, addiction – whatever it is for the person we are caring for, they didn’t choose that, they didn’t want that, and we’re caring for them and we didn’t really anticipate that either.
“I think what we can contribute is helping the people we care for live to their full potential.”
If you find yourself in a similar position to Catherine, it is important to remember that you’re not alone and there is support out there for you.
“Caring doesn’t have to swamp everything. And if it is swamping everything then that means you need more help.
“There is a lot of support for carers now. That will be offered to you. And you’ll make wonderful new friends that you never would have met before.
Today Catherine finds so much beauty in her role as a carer.
“When our son Luke said his first word, after he started speech therapy at 16 months, he said his first word aged three years and one month. And that was incredible.
“Celebrate so much, the little milestones because they are so significant.
Get the help you need to improve your wellbeing and maintain your quality of life as a part-time, full-time or even an occasional carer.