Dyspraxic Parents Livestream
On Saturday 20th March, Krystal-Bella Shaw hosted a live stream with four dyspraxic parents who each discussed their experiences and advice as dyspraxic parents. The panel included Mike Nelson, John Llyon, Dannielle Wilson and Kasia Kurylowicz.
All panel members joined in from the UK apart from Danielle who was in a completely different time zone on the other side of the world in Australia.
Each panel member shared intimate stories about their experiences as parents and often came back to the same theme which was that there are no rules to parenting, there is no book that says 'this is how you should parent' do what's best for you and your family.
Dannielle explained how dyspraxia can make cooking difficult as she doesn't always have the time or ability to chop vegetables everyday.
Instead she recommends purchasing pre-chopped vegetable that have been frozen. Many of dyspraxic's struggle with fine motor skills and time planning that makes doing some tasks difficult, so why not make the most of buying items that makes life easier. “It's about finding shortcuts that work for you."
We couldn't agree more, why make life harder for yourself when there are tools and things that you can buy to help make life easier and more manageable for you and your family.
Kasia also spoke about the importance of taking time to self care for yourself, but also about taking away so much pressure from yourself, especially if you are a single parent.
“The main lesson for me actually has been letting go of trying to be perfect. Because I had to be a mum and a dad for 17 years, and I realise now that I placed way too much pressure on myself."
Kasia also mentioned that when her son was just 4 and half years old she decided to do a Master's Degree. "It was a crazy two years of my life, the main message is, be realistic and think about your priorities and the priorities will be really having the time for your child and enjoying that because that will go so quickly"
What stood out the most about what Kasia said that I'm sure all parents will praise was “Being good enough is enough, you don't have to be perfect"
Organisation was touched on briefly as it's something many dyspraxic's struggle with. John said how this was one of his main fears, and about being forgetful too, however, his solution was to talk to himself in his mind as he was completing tasks to keep himself on track and take make sure he didn't miss anything.
“I struggled when I first started out as a parent, but now I look in his bag first checking for everything" John touched base on how far he's come and how he has learnt new ways to adapt as a dyspraxic parent. The other panels members also agreed that's it's all about learning as you go.
In response Dannielle explained how the parenting experience is going to be vastly different for someone with dyspraxia compared to neurotypicals, mostly down to the fears and anxieties we have. Danielle joked about how babies don't come with instruction manuals and your allowed to go home with a tiny baby that you've just met and are expected to know exactly how to care for them.
“Installing a safety gate for someone like myself is very challenging, it took me several hours and based on the instructions it should have only taken half an hour" When the instructions imply an easy set-up but is quite definitely very difficult, especially for a dyspraxic, as explained by John.
There are many myths around parenting that Kasha spoke of and how looking back at the early years she realises she did things she thought she was meant to do but really it wasn't necessary at all. “A friend told me that you had to iron baby's clothes on both sides so I did, and I was like why? It just made me tried doing all of that. I would have prioritised my rest around it." Kasha mirrors what john said about the fears you have with your first child because it's so new to you. “There are things that you just do because you think that you have got to do them"
Postnatal depression was a really great and important topic that was touched on. Mike shared his own experiences of postnatal depression and the importance of recognising that both men and women are equally affected by it and it needs more awareness.
“I had family visiting and coming over in the first 2 weeks, it should be a happy place, but unfortunately there were times where I was just breaking, but the support of my parent's and wife as well was great"
“Even if you don't feel like it take yourself out of that moment for a minute, maybe go for a little walk around the block, 5/10 minutes to refresh your mind"
“It was hard for people to get me out, because I kept thinking I need to stay in and look after baby and need to be supporting my wife'"
Listening to Mike share his experience is a reminder that we are all human and our emotional responses are normal.
“If you think you're not coping seek support - don't worry about admitting this, that you've got this kind of issue and saying that you've got postnatal depression, because it's not something to be ashamed off, it does happen, it's important to know that there is support"
Krystal-Bella also mentioned on this topic that it's best to try and recognise how this is affecting you as early as possible, because if you shrug it off, before you know it it's gotten really bad and it will begin to have a huge impact on you and your family.
John also mentioned during the live stream about using the people you have around you and to take advantage of the help they offer where you can. Of course during the pandemic that has been noticeably more difficult as we have had to stick to strict bubbles, but to anyone who is hoping to have children in the future, we definitely recommend using this advice and the people around you for support.
Covid-19 has had huge impacts on families around the world. Whether you have older children or are going through pregnancy, all have been impacted by lockdowns and the closure of many services.
“We were in lockdown when I went into labour which meant my mother-in-law couldn't come over and look after the kids which meant I went into my childbirth alone" Dannielle shared how she was unable to have her partner with her as someone had to care for their other children.
Luckily one of Dannielle's friend is a student midwife, so was able to have someone she knew there for her.
Even though Dannielle is from Australia the experience has been very much the same in the UK and other parts of the world, for many months mothers had to birth alone and were not allowed their birth partner with them. This has thankfully now changed in many countries but as you can imagine in such a vulnerable important time, for a neurodivergent person that can be very difficult emotionally let alone someone who is neurotypical.
Overall the discussion was incredibly insightful and cover even more topics. You can re-watched the live-stream on YouTube at: bit.ly/3rRAOxt