{The Nester Opinion} An open letter to the lady at the gym this afternoon

This is an open letter prepared by one of our nesters regarding an incident that happened to her recently at her local gym.

Sometimes it is really important to consider what others might be going through before jumping to conclusions. letter

A open letter to the woman in the gym this afternoon/evening who reported me for having my male child in the female bathroom.

Tonight madam you reported my Son to management as you felt ‘threatened’ by him in the female bathroom. Firstly let me give you some facts.

My Son his name is Lukas. He is 10 but he is a tall boy. He cannot go to the bathroom by himself because he is incontinent. That means he cannot control his bodily functions in the toilet as you and I do Lukas has a condition called autism. Not only is he on the ASD spectrum he is severely hypermobile. He has difficulty with fine motor skills like tying his pants and shoes and sensory processing disorder. He cannot stand to wipe his own bottom nor feel water on his face and ears.

This afternoon was his second lesson at the gym for his second term of swimming lessons. Yes we have only recently started because Lukas doesn’t like getting his face wet.

Yet Lukas is doing well he is swimming well with a kickboard and doing backstroke. He likes his instructor her name is Anneke. I like her too. She knows Lukas has autism she treats with him with understanding and kindness and doesn’t judge him.

Now you know about Lukas let me give you some more facts.

My name is Jodie. I am a Mum of 2 children, yes I have a Daughter too she was at the gym with me too.

I was dressing her while Lukas ‘threatened’ you. He stepped away from me briefly as I dressed his sister and how he threatened you was via a smile.

I saw him.

He then walked over and laughed at his sister because Lukas likes his sister. They fight and do most things siblings do.

However back to me. I have a chronic pain problem I have a rare disorder called intercostal neuralgia. It’s a neuropathic condition that causes me problems around my ribs. It hurts me a lot to breathe, to cough, to laugh, to bend, to wipe little boys bottoms because I have to bend. I have to bend a lot for Lukas there are many ‘accidents’ daily in our house involving bodily fluids.

I do alot of washing.

I have a lot of pain.

I often have to clean Lukas up by lying him on a dirty toilet floor because disabled toilets are hard to come by nor family rooms. There are no disabled toilets at the gym so I chose the safest less scary place to let Lukas go to the toilet. The ladies toilet where it’s not so noisy on his ears, where it’s not so dirty, where he won’t get molested because he is with me and is safe and I can attend to him privately.

Lukas has seen a lot of doctors as I said he is 10. I know your probably tut tutting that he should be toilet trained but I’ve trialled everything. We have seen incontinence nurses and bowel specialists, been poked and prodded most of Lukas’s short life and guess what we don’t know when or if he will ever be able to go to the toilet by himself. Therefore as his Mum he is my responsibility and as I’m female I cannot go to the men’s bathroom so I ruined your afternoon on leaving the gym with my threatening child who I might add was very upset because I was then asked by my children to see the staff at the desk (because even mums have to pee, heaven forbid!) and told that Lukas would have to be dressed and immediately leave the women’s change room. Which I did by the way while I dressed his sister tonight but whole time wondering did he fall in the pool, did someone take him when it would have been safer had he stayed with me.

I know this world is a big scary old place now and things are worse then we were kids but hun, I hardly think my sweet boy who may be 10 but acts much younger is any more threatening then any other 10 year old. In fact if you like to talk about busses he would love to explain to you all his favourite routes in Sydney.

Just quietly he cried tonight.

He doesn’t understand his disability because I don’t make him feel like he has one. I cried because this is one more thing that I have to deal with daily from those that should just keep walking but feel that they know better then I do his mum of 10 years and two months.

I hope this makes you think before you report any more mum’s trying to do their best in trying circumstances.

Jodie x

So remember nesters, support each other. We are all doing our damn best.


2 thoughts on “{The Nester Opinion} An open letter to the lady at the gym this afternoon

  1. Dear Jodie,
    Ignorance and fear is all around us. I feel sorry for this lady that she will not know the joy and happiness that a child with a disability can bring. Sure there are a lot of challenges but most people are understanding but if they are not,they are not rude enough to show it.
    I have been a disability worker for over 30 years and it sounds to me that you are doing a great job with your son, he is lucky to have such a wonderful mother.
    I understand that it must have been very painful to write your letter and it shows how courageous you are. By writing your letter there will be a few more people in the world who now understand instead of judge, so if each of us does our bit, the world will become a better place.
    I wish you all the best with your family, do not give up and keep him home, he has the right to access the community and participate in life as fully as possible and you are giving him the best possible future.
    You are doing a great job as a mother, do not let anyone tell you differently. Debra

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