I am Mama Maremma. I am a Human Sheepdog.
I am the Guardian of a child living with FASD, who is like my lamb, often needing to be led in order to make sense of our world.
At times my lamb becomes more like a Ram On A Rampage or even a Bull In A China Shop. As Mama Maremma, I guide him and protect him, leading him back to the family “flock”.
Although I’m not really a dog (sorry to disappoint you), my days are filled with Mama Maremma moments and I know that many of you reading this will have your own “Bull in a China Shop” experiences. You will also know how HARD….actually EXTREMELY HARD, these experiences are. We have to find ways to cope. My Mama Maremma persona transports my mind away from the emotion of the moment and plonks it straight into the “Just Do It” mode of guidance, protection and management…however that may need to be for the situation.
For those of you caring for a person living with FASD, you know that the emotional toll of these experiences is exhausting. How wonderful it would be for us all to have our own personal Mama Maremma, to guide and protect us. Even manage us!!!
This leads me to an appeal for help. My appeal is to all of the Professionals (you all know who you are), family and friends of those who are caring for someone with FASD. YOU CAN HELP!!! If the words in your head right now are something like,”I don’t know what to do”…. here are a few ideas:
- Learn about FASD. This is one of the most powerful forms of support. It shows that you REALLY care, because you want to know and are doing something about it.
- Ask WHAT you can do to help. The answer may actually surprise you. Something as simple as collecting a parcel from the Post Office can be a HUGE help.
- Offer to cook a meal, but be prepared for specific requirements. Many people living with FASD have difficulty coping with different textures of foods, as well as behavioural problems from preservatives and colours.
- How about a form of respite you may never have considered….offer to organise an activity you could do with the individual living with FASD in their home, whilst the parent or carer cooks or attends to other household tasks.
- Be open. Caring for someone with FASD requires VERY different parenting and caring skills than what many will be familiar with or use themselves. Being open in your mind and heart to the differences is priceless and an incredible support.
We are all in this together. Who are WE? The individual living with FASD; the parent/carer; the family; the friends; the professional. For all of you who are the WE…I believe the following words from the chorus of an original Beatles song, sung by John Farnham, shows how important care, support and understanding is in this journey:
Help me if you can I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me
Until next time……