If only I had a doula when my toddler was kicked out of preschool.
They smile and kindly request your presence for a “meeting.” When you arrive, alone of course because your husband is at work, you find your child’s teacher, the school counselor and the school psychologist. I was so naïve to think this was a meeting to see how we could all make this preschool thing work and to help my toddler be successful in the school setting. However, what I received was yet another label for my child, he was hyper, maybe ADHD (he was 2 at the time) and that he would likely continue to struggle at this particular school because the level of attention span needed of my child was only going to increase each grade level and he was already behind. I also received a list of other “great” schools in the area that may be a better fit for my child’s unique needs.
I was devastated. You do not hear about children quietly being dismissed at the PRESCHOOL level, but it happens and it sure does make you feel like a failure as a parent. I, the Mom who has worked with children over 10+ years and the one with the early childhood degree had a child that was struggling in comparison to his pears.
And then all the questions, worry and guilt flooded my mind and every day existence. How could my son be a failure at the age of two? What did I miss? Have I failed him as a Mom? Is it because I work too much? Will he struggle with ADHD his entire life? He has to learn to be at school, school is required. Will I have to home school? Why can’t my child act like everyone else’s child, who are so perfect at school? My child is unique, but how do we best meet his needs? The questions and guilt didn’t stop and I would carry the burden for months and months seeking answers.
I needed a doula.
I needed a doula to encourage positive thoughts. To assist me in acknowledging that I am in fact a good Mom. To remind me that my child’s wellbeing was worth fighting for. To remind me that there would be teachers who would take a genuine interest in my child and would go to the ends of the earth to ensure he was successful. To hold my hand on the days when I worried my child would carry a label for the rest of his life. To remind me that the whispers behind my back about my child’s behavior should just be ignored. To educate me on things like play therapy, where we would find out my child in fact did not struggle with ADHD, but has sensory issues. To then again hold my hand again as we learned what the term “Sensory Seeking” meant in my child’s life.
I needed a doula to rejoice with when we found the perfect combination of therapists to help my child achieve success in the home and school setting. To also rejoice with when we found the perfect school for his needs and the most incredibly caring and loving teachers who took a genuine interest in my child from the moment his busy body walked through the door.
Unbiased, genuine support is needed in all aspects of our life. Whether it is when your child gets kicked out of preschool, you are welcoming a new life into the world or you need someone to bounce all of those irrational thoughts questions off of. Hire a doula to be a supporter of your interests when times get overwhelming or when you are walking through uncharted territories, you won’t regret the decision.