Monday 29 January 2018

Monday Motivation: Inspiration

At the end of last week I'd hoped to be able to share some good news about Sasha's future but sadly nothing materialised. As much as I want to describe what's been happening on here, it's just not possible right now - which of course only adds to the frustration. Trying to summon up any Monday Motivation for this week was proving to be somewhat of a challenge, if I'm honest.
Picture of Sasha holding a foam heart

Moments before this photo was snapped on a rare trip out of the house, Sasha grabbed this heart and said to me ', mum'. 

I realised that there is inspiration and motivation all around. I see it in so many people, locally and online. Usually I'm not a fan of naming or tagging people as I understand the feelings which can arise as a result of not having been named - and I know these feelings are even more intense for those who suffer from low self-esteem. However, for my own sake I felt it was worth highlighting a few of those others who inspire me. There are of course many more than I can name in one blog post, so I'm hoping no-one will be upset by the lack of a mention. Here goes with a few nods to those who inspire me: 

Renata is an amazing mum who has had much to contend with but who still gives up her time voluntarily to help improve services for other local families. Renata used to blog over at Just Bring the Chocolate and I always admired her writing and creative style. I'm in awe of how she finds time to balance the needs of her own family with helping others. Over the past few years Renata has teamed up with another amazing parent; Tania from Special Needs Jungle who has dedicated so much time to providing important, honest information for other parents in the SEND world. One of the first sources of information I found after Sasha's diagnosis, and I know she has helped countless other families along the way.

I've talked about Steph from Was This In The Plan before on my blog. Her honesty and attitude to life continue to amaze me, and the way she has committed to teaching others through her difficult times will always inspire me.

Then there's the amazing Yvonne Newbold, who, despite living with Stage 4 cancer, devotes so much of her time to training and educating and helping others. I can't possibly list everything she is doing but one example is workshops for parents, carers and those who work with people with autism and learning disabilities, offering strategies and help with topics such as violent and challenging behaviour and puberty.

Jenny is a local Guide group leader who gives up plenty of her time and energy to encourage young girls to bond and complete all sorts of activities, despite having her own health issues and family challenges to contend with. She used to blog over at Cheetahs In My Shoes but hasn't had much time of late, largely because she's so generously giving to others.

At this point I'd like to mention all the parents locally who give up their time to run support groups and clubs which help others. This might be those who run specific Lego clubs for the children, and those who organise specific 'condition-based' coffee mornings. It's all those who have grouped together as a bigger team to offer everything from training and information sessions to online support, to days out for children with additional needs. It's also those who have tried hard to encourage new social friendships where they've felt there was a real need. Lots of these parents have challenges of their own at home and yet still give to others. I'm thinking of many great local lovelies with all of the above, and a fair few that I know of further afield, but of course there's too many to mention individually.

Next on my Inspire list (not that it's in any particular order) is Hayley from Downs Side Up. She has a real passion for spreading understanding and making others think more. If you haven't watched her brave and inspirational TedX talk yet then I'd urge you to do so - and then share it far and wide. 

If you don't yet follow Laura from Mum on a Mission then you really should - her Instagram Stories are hilarious! Laura manages to stay positive despite the barriers she and her son are facing, and she's behind a very successful petition to get retailers to change their ways. Rachel, Sarah and other Laura are other amazing names which spring to mind when talking about the Changing Places campaign.

Emma from Emma4FacsUK has helped lead a very successful campaign about the dangers of taking a certain epilepsy medication whilst pregnant. I'm in awe of her tireless work and campaigning whilst being mum to her six children. 

Another non-stop mum is the fab Debs from Chaos in Kent. I can't believe anything is chaotic where Debs is concerned; she manages to get SO much done! This year she's helping organise a special music festival for people with disabilities - Festability. She's also the force behind the BAPS - the blogging awards for Bloody Awesome Parents of children with SEND.

Some more people who are inspirational to me are Chris Ulmer (Special Books By Special Kids), Jess (Diary of a Mom), Marc Carter (Little Blue Cup), Chris Bonnello (Autistic Not Weird), Anna Kennedy, Carly Jones, Charlie Beswick (Our Altered Life), Miriam Gwynne (Faithmummy), Anne Stone Sweet and many more.

It'd be hard to miss that a lot of these mentioned above are parents of children with additional needs. This is a community which I never knew existed before Sasha came along, and yet it is a huge community, full to bursting with amazing parents. So many of them offer support to others and I honestly wish I could mention each and every one of them. I'm hoping they will know when I say 'you know who you are'.

Last, but definitely not least, I'm going to end with all the volunteers who are working hard for the PDA Society. They have helped so many families including ours, and I'm hoping I can pay that back in some small way by helping them with the upcoming PDA conference and then further activities over the coming years.

All these people below make me feel at times like I should be doing more with my life; then I remind myself that everyone should only do what they are capable of. Know your own limits, don't stretch yourself to breaking point. Do what you can, when you can. We are all different after all and the world would be a duller place if we weren't!

Now, if you've made it to the end of my list, why not think of your own, and include them in our Monday Motivation linky below?!

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