Four years ago, I never imagined I would be included in a special “club” for the rest of my life, one that I wouldn’t be able to leave. While every mom in this “club” wishes that they weren’t there, they work together towards a common goal. They work to support one another, so that no mom feels alone.
9. One group of moms that I had discovered online was truly my saving grace while I silently fought through bouts of depression in the early days of my son’s diagnosis. This group allowed parents of children with autism to be very honest about the difficulties they endured. There was no sugar coating involved. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know if I would have the strength to share this list.
8. While I love my child more than anything in the world, some days are HARD! There have been days where I experienced anxiety attacks, intense fear for his safety and just a generalized feeling of being overwhelmed.
7. I have cried in the car after leaving public places. Mom shaming is real y’all! It doesn’t require words. I have received dirty looks, glares, scoffs and eye rolls from moms that know nothing about me or my child. When a child is acting out in a public place, please don’t assume that it’s because they have bad parents. Parents of children with autism spend their entire day teaching appropriate behaviors to their child. Sometimes children with autism are overwhelmed and don’t have the means to work trough it, resulting in a meltdown. It has nothing to do with their manners, and isn’t a reflection of parenting.
6. My child has taught me to appreciate the little things. When I hear him say a new word, hear him engaging in conversation, or even just making eye contact, my heart melts. I can’t help but get excited when I see him hitting milestones, even if it’s late compared to other children.
5. I advocate for autism awareness because I hope that people will understand my child’s reactions. I hope that he will be accepted by community members, and fellow moms will teach their “typical” children that children with autism desire love and friendship, just like they do.
4. I have cried with my child when I couldn’t take his pain/fear away. Good moms can always make their children feel comfortable, right? Do you see what happened there? I even mom shame myself. Our society has pressed so many expectations onto mothers, that they feel like failures if they can’t fix everything. Imagine trying to fix things for your child, but there is no way to know what is bothering them.
3. I probably know more about Spider-Man movies and toys than any other mom at the playground. He wears Spider-Man clothing nearly every day. He watches YouTube. Yep, I allow him to watch other kids play with toys, because he learns play skills that way, without the stress of engaging with others. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.
2. I feel guilty. Everyone says that the cause of autism is unknown, that there is no way I could have prevented it. Deep down, I think about the medications that I took prior to knowing that I was pregnant. I worry that something I ate could have caused this for my little guy. Every time I see him struggle, I feel like I should have known how to protect him.
1. In the past four years, my son has taught me strength and perseverance. Although he is small, he works hard. His determination to succeed motivates me in so many ways. His progress gives me hope and shows me that instead of making excuses for why I can’t do something, I must find a way, if not for myself, for him.
Our entire family is different now, and I can’t wait to tell everyone about it! If you’d like to hear more about our ausome life, let me know in the comments below.