Nearly six years ago, I was like every other pregnant woman, excited for the arrival of their firstborn, then six months into my pregnancy something wasn’t right.

At 29 weeks, Alfie came bounding into the world, he couldn’t breath and was pretty sick. As he grows in intensive care, we were told the grim truth of what could be Alfie’s future at its worst. Luckily, he did better than predicted but I wrapped him in cotton wool, so little and fragile. As he grew the complications came to the fore, and Alfie endured many operations and hospital stays, some for months. He was so sick and fragile, I furthermore wrapped him in cotton wool, what was cold for most people was a lengthy hospital stay for Alfie.

By the age of three, it was apparent what I did may have been to Alfie’s detriment as he wouldn’t leave my side, go to anyone else, and this made things difficult. I tried to get him to have swimming lessons but after 12 weeks of screaming and vomiting in the pool, we were asked to leave the school with a full refund. We tried different things to give him confidence not to be stuck to me but with no luck.

Alfie started school, and he was happy and the separation was acceptable to him but it was only part-time. I wondered how he would cope being full-time at school, but he proved me wrong, and he excelled. We finally thought we cracked it, but I was clearly wrong. Alfie agreed to try soccer lessons for me, we paid our $400 and turned up every week for training and every week he hung to me like his life depended on it. A mum who didn’t know the situation pointed out to me that ‘you get what you give’ and she was right, I made Alfie like this, I stole his self-confidence and I felt awful.

The situation came to a head when a school mum SMS’d me to say that her daughter told her that a child was beating Alfie up. The school knew of the situation, and we’re trying to help but due to issues beyond their control there was only so much they could do. That is when the Britten family suggested we tried martial arts. I cringed, I knew this would be another waste of money, resulting a stressed Alfie, a stressed, heartbroken, guilt ridden and defeated mum.

We arranged for Alfie to go to the same Martial Arts lesson as Benjamin. Phil looked at Alfie while I did paperwork. When I came out of the office, I was shocked to see Alfie taking part in the class, and he was SMILING. I rang my hubby who didn’t believe me!!! I wondered if it was a one off but Tuesday came, and it was more of the same, he willingly ran into class and joined in. No clinging, no tears, no tantrums, no nothing. My baby was doing it!!

The Martial Arts class gave him confidence and with a one on one chat with Briana about bullying we went home full of optimism. The next day I was called to see the teacher, my heart sank, I was expecting to hear the more bad news, but that’s wasn’t the case. Alfie had used his new skill to yell at his bully to ‘back off’. That was enough to send the bully running scared. Alfie was proud of himself, not as proud as us.

It’s odd, since starting martial arts training, there has been a change in my son, not only confidence but something else. Alfie was so well-behaved for everyone else, but at home, he could be a nightmare, but now, well, I can’t recall the last temper tantrum, meltdown, general bad behaviour. I don’t know why or how but I am not arguing; it is making my life easier. I don’t need to ask a million times now; I get please and thank you without prompting and no arguments about bed time.

This morning I got up to him fully dressed and vacuuming the floor!!! The change in my son is so noticeable that when my hubby came home from site, he asked what was wrong with Alfie!! I am so grateful to WAIMA for making this change in my son. I no longer feel like a failure and am watching the confidence build and a beautiful young man blossom.

“Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person“.

Leanne Scott August 15, 2017