About the Book
Amelia & Me: My First Book
WRITING this book didn’t just happen overnight. It was a long process that took over four years, as I slowly built the pages brick by brick, until I found I had amassed a great wall of stories from my life as the mother of Amelia, my beautiful daughter who is both deaf and autistic.
It started in 2013 when I left my job because our home life had become a warzone dominated by Amelia’s increasingly distressing behaviours; she was so angry and lost that we had no idea what to do.
The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) soon after was in many ways a huge relief. It finally gave us a way of understanding Amelia better, and more importantly, a pathway to helping her.
In the middle of the ceaseless appointments, therapy sessions and doctor’s visits, I started a blog about my parenting experiences. I wrote and wrote until I had excavated much of the crippling loss and anger that had ossified inside me.
I shared stories of pain, but also of hope and joy. People reached out to me and told me their own tales from the frontlines of parenthood. Friends and family learned more about Amelia, about what it meant to be her in the world.
Writing was (and still is), my therapy. Taking certain events out of my memory and sending them out into the ether reduced their power to drag me under. Writing helped me to comprehend and translate my thoughts for people when I had no energy to speak.
In 2016 I decided to take the more than 80,000 words I had poured into my blog and create a book and the process has been a gift; to me as a reminder that I have been through many challenges and survived to stand taller than ever before, and to Amelia, who is the reason for it all. My inspiration.
Reading over the pages of the finished product which spans more than three years of my family life, I am struck by the depth of my fears for Amelia but also buoyed by the way I kept our heads above water, and found a way to prize her individuality instead of shunning it.
What I see now in these vignettes about my daughter is the gradual erosion of that paralysing fear and the growth of something far more hopeful. My anger and grief has given way to a strange sense of (almost) peace.
Where I had obsessed over the why these things had happened and what it all meant, I finally made my way back around to focussing on who Amelia was. Amelia the girl. The person. The humourist. The dancer. The soulful one. The real her.