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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

I’m Sorry You Don’t Understand

Episode 37 | September 12, 2023

Sarah Saunders joins us to discuss parenting, accepting our children's diagnoses, and how to set boundaries to maintain the endurance of raising kids!

Listen in as Sarah Saunders, MA, LPCC-S, discusses the season of parenthood, it's potential struggles, best ways to cope, and acknowledging that sometimes people just don't understand.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Sarah Saunders, MA, LPCC-S, owner of Purposeful Growth & Wellness, mother to four, and former co-host joins us to discuss parenting in all forms. With a son newly diagnosed with autism, life has changed. She shares her experiences thus far, her thoughts at diagnosis and how she has learned to cope. Join us in using one of her pocketed phrases “I’m sorry you don’t understand”.


Key Takeaways

“You know, it’s so interesting when I get this question, you know, like, how’s life or how are things going? I’m really working on saying, you know, life is full right now instead of busy because I notice when I’m saying, like, the reality is life is very full.”

[00:08:29] Seeking support for developmental concerns

“As a therapist, I think the hat that I wear, it really, it helps in a lot of situations, but it also makes sometimes being a mom really hard.”

  • Help Me Grow – Can assess early on – most local counties have similar resources
  • Accepting that there were some delays was difficult, but realizing early support was the best way to manage

“I don’t know what his social world is going to look like. I don’t know what his future is going to look like and I know right now he’s getting the support that he needs.”

  • Realizing post diagnosis that everything will be alright, regardless of how things turn out
  • Early intervention is key but it’s never too late
  • Kids are humans/people, not projects
  • All of your children may need support in different ways and it’s not fair to compare them

[00:13:25] Getting the diagnosis

  • This was extremely emotional
  • Feeling numb/overwhelmed
  • Give yourself permission to be human – two things can be true
  • Remembering that a diagnosis does not change who they are today versus who they were yesterday and who they’ll be tomorrow
  • Diagnosis does not define your child – it is not a restriction or a box

“I don’t know what his social world is going to look like. I don’t know what his future is going to look like and I know right now he’s getting the support that he needs.”

[00:17:43] Grieving expectations

  • It is okay to grieve what could have been
  • Our children are their own people and their futures (no matter what they look like) can be positive in a multitude of ways
  • We are purposefully pausing – seeing that outward influences may not support the way your child wants to live

“Just because it isn’t the way I thought it was going to happen doesn’t mean they’re going to have a less fulfilling, love filled life.”

[00:24:37] Endurance challenge of raising kids

  • Finding what serves you, where you can find your peace
  • Everyday we make the choice to support ourselves in order to provide the best parents to our children – putting your oxygen mask on first

[00:30:32] Setting priorities and boundaries

  • Being strict with structure
  • Be mindful of your own reactions
  • You always have permission to change your mind
  • Setting aside time to prep for the week/month
    • Creating a schedule
    • Preparing home meals
    • Saying no to some events
  • Communication is key

[00:34:19] Teaching about autism expectations

  • The child is the expert of themselves
  • Try to be patient with others who may not understand
  • Be patient with yourself if you don’t understand
  • It’s not your job to make others comfortable
  • It’s not your responsibility to educate others
    • You can have go-to phrases in those moments

“I am so sorry you don’t understand”

[00:38:50] Setting boundaries with family

  • Give family grace to adjust
  • Attempting to not hold resentment against family who can’t understand or make appropriate accommodations
  • Short term pain, with a long term gain
  • Hold space for yourself and your child

[00:42:06] Reason, Season, Lifetime

  • Poem that discusses how people end up in your lifetime
  • I made it through my hardest days – continue to be grounded to see that it is all going to be ok
Where to Find Sarah
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues