By Jamie Wyatt
When Cooper was born I was a mess and everything was so baby/NICU focused I realized I was neglecting myself greatly.
When I got some particularly concerning news one day, I went in to an anxious despair. I wallowed in it for about 24 hours then I gave myself a gift; I’m a very visual person so I visualized a beautifully wrapped square box.
I opened it in my mind, and in it were my emotions, whatever emotions I had. I allowed myself to have them without worry or guilt.
I had to give myself this gift quite often in the beginning, reminding myself to remain mentally healthy and that you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Then as Cooper got older, I did the same for him; in the box was the gift of himself just as he was, what he could handle that day, what would make him happy, what fun we could have together without worrying about the outside world.
Cooper’s 6 now, and we’ve had lots of ups and downs.
I’ve learned to allow my emotions and grief to come in a healthier way, and I can work through them by naming them and experiencing them.
With Cooper, I accept him for who he is and what he can do, rather than focusing on what he can’t. We live in a much more laid back home, we are happy and we understand this is our normal and that we can make it what we want it to be.
Everyday I wake up and have hope; another gift I can unwrap. I have hope for happiness, hope for strength, hope for connection.