There is a madness to everything in life including mommyhood. I would say being a mom can push us to the brink of insanity before it pulls us back from the ledge just to start pushing again. From the moment of conception until they place us in our graves our children are directing our life paths. When you are blessed with a child that has special needs then you are given a slightly different path to travel. I have talked about my oldest child before and as you all know she is bi-polar which is a horrible illness to contend with. When she was born she was perfect. She was a beautiful baby and although the labor and delivery was a horrific experience for us both she seemed relatively healthy. As time went on I began to notice differences in her from other children. She didn’t speak a word until she was three years old. She would babble and make a lot of noise but no true words. She was a very aggressive child at times but very loving at other times. I felt I was raising a Jekyll and Hyde. I began to notice she was overly hyper and sensitive. After taking her to multiple doctors and then psychiatrists they diagnosed her as having ADHD. They began treating her with medicines which would work for short periods and then just have no effect. We put her in preschool so that she could receive speech therapy. This was a daily struggle. I would get a call from school every single day saying that she had hurt someone or herself. They could not do anything with her. They would tell me if we didn’t get some medicines that worked they would not allow her back in school. I can remember how embarrassed I was to even go to the grocery store. She would act out so badly! She would lay in the floor and scream or she would steal something and I would have to take her back in and make her return it. People have ALWAYS blamed me for her behavior. Honestly? how can you judgmental assholes who know nothing about my life blame me for a disorder my child was born with? Let me tell you a little something about our lives before you open your mouths. Her father is bipolar which I did not know until years later. He was very abusive and he beat me multiple times while I was pregnant. I finally got a restraining order and a judge who let him know if he caused me to miscarry he would be charged with fetal homicide. During one of the beatings he managed to hit me in the stomach and my amniotic water began to leak. By the time I went into labor I had nearly no fluid left. They told me the baby was a miracle. Her heart stopped beating three to four times during birth and the doctor notified my parents that she would more than likely suffer some brain damage from the lack of oxygen. For the first year she was MADE to visit her father who carried on with his mental and physical abuse until he was proved guilty. He gave her wine coolers at 12 months old and she was rushed to the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. He had tried to kill her in an effort to avoid paying child support. His parental rights were stripped and he was out of her life for good. However, with all the abuse it was a little too late thanks to our fine justice system. Yes, my child acts out, she screams, she hits, she cries non-stop, she takes away toys from other children, in your eyes she is bad. She is not to blame nor am I. Over the years we traveled to psych after psych. We went to therapy sessions two to three times a week. We had meeting after meeting at school. I received call after call from unhappy teachers and parents. Some days I felt like just giving up. I mean what good was I doing her? I just could not fix her. We began to encounter another problem. She began binge eating. She would hide food under her bed and in her closets. She started gaining weight at a quick pace. She was going through so much bullying at school now. Other kids were making fun of her because she couldn’t talk right, she was over weight, and she didn’t act normal. She would come home crying and lock herself in her room. I being mother bear would go to school and complain and ask for help. You have no idea what it is like to fight a school system unless you have a child with special needs. Year after year she fell further and further behind. I would ask them to hold her back and they would refuse. She continued to become more aggressive. My house had more holes in the wall than I could plaster. My car ended up with a broken windshield thanks to her anger and a math book. When she entered sixth grade I had enough. She couldn’t add, subtract, count money, or even tell time. I wrote my congressman and even President Bush. I received a call from my state Senator and within days the ball was rolling. I was sent an advocate/lawyer from the state attorney’s office. I was given the “blue book” which is a book of rights for children with disabilities. Amazing stuff in there I must add! We sat up a meeting and it wasn’t pretty. Sarah was placed in special education classes finally. I was pointed in the direction of assistance which she deserved. However, the cruelty of other children did not stop nor did the mood swings and behaviors. She began to steal more often and act out in terrible ways. She hit her brother in the nose with a ball bat one night and threatened to kill all of us. My son slept with a locked door from that night on. I ended up having to send her to a crisis unit on three occasions within six months. Right after coming home on the last occasion she immediately stole some things and I found them under a bed (along with a pile of pills she had been hiding instead of taking). After bedtime I heard her sobbing in her room. The door was locked and I couldn’t get in. I just had a feeling something was terribly wrong. I went outside and thank God the window was unlocked. I pushed it open and crawled through. There I found her lying on the floor with blood spilling from her wrist. She had gotten tired of it all and tried to kill herself. I called 911 and the police. That was the last draw…she couldn’t take anymore and neither could I. I traveled up to Louisville, Ky to a center for mentally challenged children. They did test after test on her. After a couple of days of tests and talking with multiple therapists and psychiatrists we were called back in and given the results. I was told that she had bi-polar disorder and mild mental retardation. She had only scored a 64 on an IQ test. On other tests she scored on levels of 5 to 7 year olds and she was 14. I remember feeling hopeless. It just wasn’t going to get better. The doctors sat her up with more therapy and psych visits back home and we were handed four new prescriptions. Over the next year she improved. Her moods were stable and she began to do better in school. I thought I had hit the lottery. This is when I learned her biological father had been diagnosed bi-polar and he had attempted suicide six times. Over the next few years we lived life on a roller coaster. Some days were good and some bad. Some were right out terrible. The older she got the more risks she would take. We went through her stealing over 2000 dollars from me and my parents, she stole my car and totaled it, she ran away multiple times, and she treated me like I was nothing (on a daily basis). After my dad died Sarah had a melt down. She sunk into a depression that she had never faced before. She refused her meds and began stealing more money from my mom. After I found out she had written over 500 dollars on my checking account me and my mom pressed charges against her. She was put in jail and a court date was set. She only made it one night before calling me and begging me to come and get her. I was told by her therapist she needed to learn but jail was not the place so I put my house up as collateral and signed her out. Long story short I worked with the judge and she was put on probation for five years and I was given guardianship over her. She is now 20 years old and she is pregnant. Nothing has changed. She has stolen from me a few times but only small amounts. She yells at me and then breaks down and cries. She refuses her meds and blames everything on everyone else but herself. She still cannot count money nor can she do simple math. She will not clean up after herself and constantly terrorizes her siblings. She will go days without sleeping and then collapse and sleep for days. She has no concept of what life really is about. I have tried as a parent to teach her. I have punished her for what she does but to no avail. Just this past weekend she got upset because her boyfriend wouldn’t leave work and come see her. She got mad at my husband and I because we had friends over. We were watching the fights and having a good time. She decided to call her boyfriend and tell him one of the guys hit on her and we were all too drunk to do anything about it. She then called the police and tell them she needed help that we were all drunk. We had it out. One of the worst fights we have ever had. I made her pack her things and go to her boyfriends parents house. A few days later she was involved in a wreck that could have very easily taken her life as well as my grandchild. I felt horrible. So now she is back home and acting fairly decent. She admits she needs help and is willing to go back on her medicine. I am sitting here wondering if I will ever have a life or if my life is to just care for her. Yes, maybe I am selfish but she has to grow up. What is going to happen to her when I am gone? She has a baby on the way and she has to learn how to care for herself and the baby. Life is hard sometimes and it just doesn’t seem fair but it is what it is. We just have to learn to deal with it. I love my children and I have dedicated my life to making theirs a little bit better. Parents of special needs children are not to blame. Please remember this when you see a mom at the store with a child who is on the floor screaming. I understand there are spoiled children in the world but who knows this may be a child who was born a little different than yours. Life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. There is madness everywhere…….