When #momlife isn’t quite what you imagined it would be...

Before I became a mom, I had all these visions of what life would be like with kids.  Pinterest-perfect bedrooms, cute little baby moccasins, and family photos that look like we were just casually walking through a beautiful forest, pausing to toss an adorable toddler into the air.

Then I had my two boys, and reality looks a bit different.  Their bedrooms are never clean for more than two minutes, the baby moccasins rarely stayed on their feet, and we literally have one decent family photo because we’re terrible at posing together and I don’t have the patience to keep trying.  Also, my kids can’t keep an outfit clean for more than two minutes, I swear.

Two other things I never imagined I’d be dealing with were life threatening food allergies, and autism spectrum disorder.  

My oldest son, Leo, was diagnosed with severe food allergies when he was a year old after his first time eating eggs landed us in the ER.  It’s been almost three years now and navigating life with severe food allergies has been hard.  It requires a lot of planning, constant scrutinizing of food labels, educating friends and family (over and over), and always being hyperaware of the food and food products around your kids.  It’s exhausting!

Finding other food allergy moms to connect with has made it easier, because they understand the emotions you’re feeling when you make a mistake that could have been life threatening, or when you’re about to leave town and are feeling anxious to leave your kids with their grandparents.

Leo also had some developmental delays as a toddler.  I would take him to the Movers & Crawlers class at Blooma and watch the other kids crawling and trying to walk while he sat still.  He aged out of that class and was the only non-walker in the Kids Yoga classes I took him to.  I felt so alone as a mom. 

We didn’t know what was going on with him yet, and part of me was definitely in denial that anything was wrong.  My other mom friends were quick to gloss over it, “He’s fine!  He’ll get there!  So-and-so never crawled either and look at them now!”

As he passed 18 months and was still not showing any signs of wanting to stand or walk, our pediatrician referred us to a physical therapist who quickly recognized some sensory integration issues.  We began occupational therapy, speech therapy, and started receiving early intervention services through the school district. 

When he turned three, he was evaluated academically by the school district and given the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) label.  He’s made incredible progress in the last two years, and my husband and I joke that we’ve made it through the “dark times” (did I mention we also had a newborn around the time that Leo started receiving therapy?  A newborn that refused to take a bottle and woke up 3-4 times a night most nights for about a year?  Super cool.)

Finding other ASD mamas to connect and share with has been so comforting, because even though we have unique situations and challenges, we understand how to support each other in a way that other moms can’t.  

I’ve been coming to Blooma for four years now, and while I absolutely love the community here, I feel like there’s a hole that needs to be filled.  A space to hold for mamas of kids that have special medical or developmental needs, because these mamas face additional layers of complexity and anxiety that other moms can’t understand.

I wanted to create that space at Blooma, a place for these mamas to connect and feel heard and understood.  And, because these mamas often find self care to be even more of a challenge, I wanted to incorporate some time for a restorative yoga practice together.  

Our new workshop, Self Care and Connection for Mamas of Special Needs Kids, begins in September and will be offered once a month throughout the fall.  We would love to see you there if you’re a mama with a child that has special medical or developmental needs.  No matter how big or small it may seem to you, if you feel the need to connect with other moms dealing with these additional complexities, we welcome you to the group.

We’ll meet for 90 minutes, using half of the time to share and connect, mama to mama.  This is a safe space to share your experience, frustrations, and joys.  You’ll feel heard, seen, and supported by a group of other mamas who get it.  Then we’ll transition into a restorative yoga practice to relax and connect with your inner strength.  Releasing anxiety and tension, you’ll leave feeling restored and rejuvenated.  

If you identified with my story, please know that you’re not alone, mama!  Or, if you have a friend you think would benefit from this group, please share this blog post with them and help us get the word out.  We want all mamas to feel supported and held up at Blooma, and we can’t wait to bring this new offering to our community.

You can join Lilly for her “Self Care and Connection for Mamas of Special Needs Kids” Workshop at Blooma Minneapolis: September 12, October 10, November 14, and/or December 12.

Lilly is a yoga teacher (RYT-200), wellness blogger, and mama of two living in Minneapolis.  You can find her teaching prenatal yoga at Blooma and flow yoga at an event series called Vinyasa + Vino (yoga followed by a wine testing!)

Follow Vinyasa + Vino: https://www.facebook.com/vinovinyasa/

Lilly's blog: www.rebelwell.com

Follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/rebel__well/