Mama Bear def. The tendency for any mother to protect her young from a real or perceived threat. noun I was a total Mama Bear when the psychologist asked about Zephan’s motor development. verb I completely Mama Beared on the assessment team when they tried to pigeonhole Asher’s behaviors.
Today was Asher’s reevaluation for Early Intervention and the meeting left me wanting to hit something, or perhaps more accurately someone. Asher is developmentally delayed which for him means he struggles in the areas of gross motor, fine motor, and social skills. He receives supports in these areas at his preschool and today we needed to reevaluate these supports.
From the moment we walked into the facility, Zephan was fussy. It had the feeling of a church nursery to Zeph and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. He HATES to be left in the nursery and will protest until he’s convinced he’s safe. Zephan fussed and tantrumed throughout the evaluation and for some reason the psychologist found this puzzling. She said, “So is this the way Asher acted as a baby as well?” I didn’t like her tone and I felt the Mama Bear instinct in me rising. My eyes locked onto hers as I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean.” She went on in that condescending tone to say, “Well, did Asher act in the same dodgy, fussy fashion?” (Did she just call my child dodgy???) I could tell from her tone that she was already convinced in the rightness of her observations. “Uh, no. Asher and Zephan have very different personalities and right now Zeph just doesn’t want to be here. He’s tired and fussy.” This did not satisfy her. She kept pushing. “Is Zephan only happy when he’s at home?” My Mama Bear instinct was getting stronger and I think I may have snarled a bit. “I’m sorry, I thought we were here to talk about Asher.” She changed gears by asking personal questions regarding who in my family is ADHD? Schizophrenic? Bipolar? Then she stopped and said, “And how about you, are you depressed?” I somehow mustered enough grace to simply utter a gutteral, no.
Then she started back in on Zeph. “You know, I would be amiss to not mention that autistic tendencies tend to run in families and you may want to consider having Zephan evaluated….” That was it. I think I audibly growled at this point. It took all of my energy to not scoop up both my kids, place them behind me, jump across the table and bitch-slap that woman! Mama Bear was in full-force, and I sat there contemplating my next move. I narrowed my eyes, leaned forward, and slowly let her know that as a mother who has already been through this process with Asher, I am fully aware of the services available to me should I feel it necessary to pursue them. Snarl, snarl.
I wasn’t feeling protective of my children because this woman was offering help. I was feeling protective because she was looking to confirm her preconceived, stereotyped, pigeonholed ideas about my family after spending about 15 minutes with us. To her, I was the depressed mother with mental illness and learning disabilities running throughout and my children were both somewhere “on the spectrum”. I’ve had over a year to come to terms with Asher’s challenges. They are real and I have no problem discussing how to best meet them. However, I will NOT allow anyone to try and force me, or my kids into some typological-box.
Be forewarned. I have been known to bite when provoked.