Friday, April 15, 2011

I think I've grown....

For some reason, today I've been rethinking what I've gone through over the last 2 years. From the moment that the developmental pediatrician told us that both Rachel and Simon were on the spectrum to me pushing for the votes for this blog to be recognized, what have I learned about myself? I was thinking about how much everything has both changed, and stayed the same. But I also started thinking about my own journey towards acceptance of my children's diagnosis. And realizing how much further I still have to go.

I found myself thinking of a conversation I had a year and a half ago with someone from Infants and Toddlers (Early Intervention). I remember calling her needing to talk (not sure about what anymore). We tried to coordinate a time, but that proved difficult not because of our schedules per se, but because of me and my family (H1N1 hit this house pretty hard, including Daniel developing a mild pneumonia). But we eventually did get together to talk. Again, I don't remember the original topic of the conversation, but I do remember moments. I remember after talking for a while, she asked me if I blamed myself for what happened to my children. I remember telling her "No, I know that I didn't do anything to cause them to be autistic." And I did know that. But I also remember thinking how could it NOT be my fault. I have 3 children, 2 of whom have autism. I love them (and always have) as much as their older brother. But did I ignore their needs in favor of their brother or my own exhaustion? What choices had I made that could have led to this outcome?

The other thing I remember from this conversation was something that I was immediately ashamed of, and still am embarrassed to admit it. Anyone who is faced with a situation that they are unhappy about seems to have this comment running through their head, but most of us are smart enough to not say it. I can't say that. I said it. I still can't believe it. "I didn't ask for this!". Whoever would ASK to have a child with a disability that could prevent them from living an independent life? Who would ASK for a parenting career full of additional worries about their children? Who would ASK for the challenge of raising one or more children on the spectrum? None of us ask for this. But we have it. It has happened. And the best we can do is live with it. I don't remember what she said when those horrible words left my mouth. I was either too mortified (with myself) to listen to the answer or have just blocked it out, again due to the fact that I was so mortified to have asked the question in the first place.

This conversation happened approximately 7 months after learning that Rachel and Simon were on the spectrum, and about 2 months after learning their official diagnosis. Since then, we've seen progress and regressions (in both of them). We've watched them develop language. We've seen them learn to begin playing with others. We've watched them take on the challenges that are presented to them, and have learned to introduce new ideas and experiences.

And I've embraced the idea of being an"Autism Mom". I'm not fully there. I still fight it. I still strive for them to fit in with their typical peers and force them to have experiences with them. I still want to see them succeed in school and in life without their differences defining them. But when I think of where I was on the day of that conversation and the day I asked that ridiculous question and where I am today, I have to admit, I'm pleased with the progress that I have made.

2 comments:

  1. I have a son with autism and blog about our family experiences, along with other stuff. I look forward to following your blog and hope I can help every now and then ;)

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