‘I feel deeply lonely’ Mum blogger opens up about the reality of having an autistic child

A mum blogger with an autistic child has posted a heartfelt account of her difficulties in forging relationships with other mums.

Angela Ashton Smith, who writes blog Driving The Struggle Bus, is mum to a little girl called Piper, who is on the autism spectrum.

Her blog deals with all the little ways in which being a parent to a child with special needs is a different kind of experience to parenting a ‘normal’ child.

In a recent post, titled ‘Outside, looking in’, Angela has opened up about how she sometimes feels isolated and lonely by her circumstances, as she isn’t able to experience every day things in quite the same way as other parents.

‘Tonight should have been a victory to be celebrated, and in many ways, it was. My husband and I had the privilege of accompanying Piper to Kindergarten orientation,’ the mum begins.

‘A year and a half ago, our daughter was lost, borderline non-verbal, and often aggressive. Her future was very uncertain.

‘The mere fact that in just eighteen months, she has graduated from the full-time autism classroom and is about to enter kindergarten is nothing short of miraculous.

‘Yet, in this moment, I feel deeply lonely.’

Although she was welcomed warmly by the other mums and Piper enjoyed meeting her new teachers and classmates, Angela mourned the loss of Piper’s earliest experiences with these girls, who had all attended pre-school together whilst Piper was at special needs classes.

The other mums had all formed friendships too, leaving both Angela and Piper on the ‘Outside, looking in’.

‘One of the moms mentioned that she wished she’d have snapped a photo of the girls walking out of the school, hand-in-hand. I smiled, for it was a beautiful mental image, but at the same time, my heart dropped and I felt like an outsider all over again.

‘As a rule, I don’t speak negatively about my daughter having autism. But tonight, I have to wonder, if autism wasn’t our reality, would Piper have been included in that sweet moment?’

She goes on to stress that ‘[t]hese are wonderful mothers who have offered me support time and time again when I’ve needed it.

‘My emotions are my own, and they did nothing wrong. I said it myself, earlier- as a group, I don’t know them particularly well. Would we be part of that close group, though, if things were different?’

Angela ended her post by acknowledging her struggle wasn’t unique, and readers of her blog have been quick to show their support, thanking her for her honesty.

One mum wrote, ‘I feel exactly the same way!! I have a 6 year old son who is on the spectrum. He was in an awesome pre-school class at another school and when we realised that this school didn’t have the program we needed for him for kindergarten and that we would have to move to a less desirable school, I cried.’

‘Just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your story.’

‘Glad you recognise that which brews inside of you; that you can identify it. Taking care of yourself is an ever-so-important part of raising all our kids,’ said another.