In this episode of the No Guilt Mom podcast, host JoAnn Crohn welcomes Victoria, a special needs mom who shares her inspiring story of hope and perseverance during the pandemic.
Victoria opens up about the challenges she faced when her son's services were abruptly halted due to the pandemic, leaving her without much-needed support.
She discusses the toll it took on her family, the guilt she felt, and the desperate need for respite care. However, through her husband's retirement and the support she found in the No Guilt Mom community, Victoria's situation started to change.
Victoria is part of our Balance VIP community. We would love to have in it too! Enroll here.
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JoAnn Crohn: [00:00:00] Welcome to the No Guilt Mom podcast. I have your host, JoAnn Crohn, and we are here with a No Guilt Mom win, which I know that you're gonna find so inspiring because if you have a kid who has special needs and you struggled hard during the pandemic because those services weren't available, and then getting back in it after the pandemic was so hard to still find help. Victoria knows exactly what you're going through, and she has a story of hope that I hope will inspire you and will give you some little ideas on where you can look or where you might be able to look for family members who are going through this thing right now. So welcome, Victoria. I'm so excited to have you here.
Victoria Fuller: Oh, I'm so excited to be here with you today.
JoAnn Crohn: I'm also excited to see your face again because you joined us for the No Guilt mom VIP retreat and I actually got to meet you in person, which is so rare online. So it's [00:01:00] just an some extra excitement for this interview.
Victoria Fuller : Oh, I know. It was wonderful. I'm still thinking about it.
JoAnn Crohn: But let's get into to your story. So can you tell us a little bit about your son and what you went through during the pandemic, with him?,
Victoria Fuller : we got him actually in May of 2018 after, my sister, my sister-in-law, and my husband's, adopted sister.
She ended up losing custody of James and he was just shy of a year old at that point. , So when we got him, he wouldn't eat he wouldn't walk, he cried a lot. He would suck on his fingers and kind of just rock back and forth. Like he had missed his entire first year of like, everything, you know, all those milestones that would be being met throughout that year.
So we ended up, um, going through the adoption process and then fast forward to 2019, we actually adopted him on September 13th of that year. And we started services then, and [00:02:00] obviously 19 to 20 is not too far away, so we had him in services up until he was just about three years old.
JoAnn Crohn: can you explain a little bit about what he needed services for?
Victoria Fuller : Yeah, so we ended up with services, d d D services, they brought in a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, as we had those services, um, where we would have somebody come into our home like once a week.
But then the pandemic happened , and because he had just turned three or he was just about to turn three, his services were already getting ready to stop through D d, D, we would've had to work on getting, , going through other services.
But because of the pandemic, it was just near impossible. , and it. Really wasn't until last year. we actually had him go stay with a friend, some friends of ours for, he was with them for almost six months.
Up until that point, my husband and I had not had a break. We had no respite services. [00:03:00] We had no, family that was really able to care for him., My, you know, my father-in-law, he has a, um, a prosthetic leg. So he can't chase after him and he's very rambunctious all day, every day.
, he's the energizer bunny that never stops going. Um, and I love him to death
JoAnn Crohn: He requires a lot of care too. Like what are some of the things that you've seen your son doing that you're like, oh my gosh,
Victoria Fuller : Oh my gosh. Okay. So really how we ended up at my friends to begin with was that that was the straw that broke the camel's back. He ended up climbing our boat onto our roof and was trying to fit himself down the chimney. And he had convinced both of his siblings to try and go with him. And it was my daughter's birthday.
She had just turned 11, I think it was. Or 12 and we were calling her dad. And this all happened in like that, , there was no catching it. I was home by myself. We were just trying to call our dad. I thought the kids were, you [00:04:00] know, relatively okay for a moment. Next thing I hear Petter patter on the roof.
And I was like, why does it sound like there's feet on my roof? And that's when we found them. And that's when I had to call my friend and I said, I really, really need help, um, because I don't like to ask for help. But I was. In dire need at that point. I could not, um, I could not keep up. I was drowning.
JoAnn Crohn: Because something that you described at the retreat was that you also felt a lot of guilt because of the attention that it took also from your other kids.
Victoria Fuller : Yeah. And that's, that's very difficult in fact, because he's now. You know, fast forward we're getting going to be getting those services. , but all of my kids are gonna be put in counseling to help, , understand and to go through and to feel what they feel because it's been a lot on everybody.
Even my husband and I are gonna have to do it too, just to kind of. Let it all out.
JoAnn Crohn: Was the change that [00:05:00] led you from having struggle every day to finally now being able to get services?
Victoria Fuller : Oh gosh. I think it was my husband's retirement. I think he was home for like three weeks and I think he finally understood. He was like, oh my gosh, how have you been doing this? , You know, for so long, because I haven't worked since the end of 2020 when I resigned from my job because I had all five of them and I was like, there's no way I can work and do this at the same time.
It's insanity and I loved my job and so that was a little bit rough, you know, leaving something you actually like doing and then all of a sudden you're home 24 7. The reason why I got the job was because I needed something outside of the home.
JoAnn Crohn: And so your husband saw the need for it, and then you also came to the retreat too. And what did you, what happened at the retreat?
Track 1: Absolutely. In fact,
Victoria Fuller : It just kind of fired me up when I got home. I was like, we need to call, we need to figure out like what's going on ,
They're looking at [00:06:00] 35 to 40 hours a week of services for him, and it's gonna be one person.
JoAnn Crohn: Okay, so you went from having nobody coming in from you doing it all by yourself to now 35 to 40 hours a week of someone else coming in to help you.
Victoria Fuller : Yeah. And respite care on top of that once we figure out that portion of it, but yes.
JoAnn Crohn: For those people who don't know what respite care is, can you describe what respite care is?
Victoria Fuller : Yeah, so basically it's somebody that's trained to, take care of your child that, , for whatever their autism, whatever their needs are. And so you get a little bit of a break, when you need it., we don't know how much respite care that we do qualify for. But even just once a month would be amazing for our family.
JoAnn Crohn: So having all this lined up now, Victoria, how are you doing now? Now that you know that you're gonna [00:07:00] get help?
Victoria Fuller : I think I'm doing so much better. Honestly. I just had my husband clean our entire bedroom for me in the first time in months because I was so depressed and so down, I was just so focused on just how do we get through, you know, it just couldn't be the rest of his life or the rest, you know, of our life of trying to figure out how to do everything by ourselves.
And now that I know that help is coming, I. Oh, I just feel like this big sense of release and relief , , and not having so much dread
JoAnn Crohn: That is amazing to hear and I am so, so happy to hear it. And you've been part of our community for a number of years now, and in Balance VIP and I see you getting so much support in there from everybody who was at the retreat and just cheering you on as well.
Victoria Fuller : [00:08:00] Oh, I just love these women to death . I'm like, you guys are amazing. And you know, and I never thought that I would need something like that, but it's so true. Like even though they're not right here, that support means everything to me. And I never thought that I would need that much support because I've always relied on what I have around me.
And it sometimes it's just not, it's just not enough and, and the love I feel from these women it makes a huge difference in my, in my life really.
JoAnn Crohn: I'm so happy that you are here and with us in balance and part of the No Guilt Mom community, and I hope I know. I don't hope, I know that your story is gonna provide hope for other moms out there who are right now struggling and trying to do it all. Especially if they have a child with special needs just to go out, find the help. The help is out. There. And also to reach out for the support of other people, because like you said, support, like you never realize how much you need it until you get it and you're like, oh my gosh, this is the thing that I was missing [00:09:00] all along.
Victoria Fuller : I just feel like I'm no longer carrying it all by myself. Like I feel like it's not my, not all my burden to carry. and that's very important to me and it helps
JoAnn Crohn: That's awesome. I'm still happy to hear. Well, I will talk to you very soon and thank you so much.