Autism, Caregiving and Role Modeling

The Dove Celebrate Mom Contest

Autism, Caregiving and Role Modeling

There are many ways a woman can become a mother. It often comes in the traditional way—hours of labour and pushing until finally your bundle of joy arrives. Other times you go through countless interviews and sit on waiting lists before you finally get the call that your baby has arrived and is ready to come home. Sometimes you travel to foreign lands shaking with excitement knowing that on the plane ride home you will be cuddling your new baby. Sometimes we inherit children from loved ones who have passed too soon.

Then there are the womenfolk who love and care for other people’s children. You know these women as nannies, aunties, grandmas, godmothers, or BFFs of mama.

We had someone enter my family’s life eight years ago, not long after my son was diagnosed with autism. Beth began working with him several days a week as part of our therapy team. Beth had a lot of experience—she had trained and worked in the autism community because her young nephew, Johnny, had autism. Beth took care of Johnny on weekends to give his parents a break, ran the Parent Support Group at our local Autism Ontario branch and advocated for Johnny and other children with autism. From the moment Johnny was born, Beth’s life changed and he became her Number One.  She stuck around at a time when many people jump ship. In fact, “stuck around” is a bit of an understatement.

Several years ago, Beth became the full-time guardian (and single parent) of Johnny. Although taking care of Johnny and working as an Educational Assistant keeps her busy, she has remained involved in our family. From the early days of going above and beyond all expectations when working with my son, to taking an active interest in every one of my children—her heart is huge and her capacity for generosity knows no bounds.

I am thankful that my daughters have Beth as a role model. They see a strong woman leading a challenging and sometimes lonely life. But more than that, Beth is showing them that even when life does not go as planned, if you commit to the work, issues and people you love—you will be happy.

After all, what more is there?

Know an amazing mom who’s an inspiration to women and girls? Celebrate her!

Visit www.CelebrateMom.ca by September 4th to nominate her for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest.

She could win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice. But more importantly, you’ll be introducing young girls to real role models who inspire them to reach their full potential! Nominate her now!

Check out more stories about inspiring role model moms.