Dear Mom who’s scared of an Autism Diagnosis

Dear Mom who’s scared of an Autism diagnosis,

I get it. I’ve been there too.

Not that. Not my son.
Not Autism.

I told myself he would grow out of it.
He didn’t.
My friends told me it was “just a boy thing.”
But it wasn’t.
I chalked up our challenges to his prematurity, the fact that he is a twin, to…anything but that.

I get it. An Autism diagnosis is scary.
It means that this isn’t going away, that it isn’t immaturity, or quirkiness, or pickiness, or sensitivity.

It’s for Life.
And you’re worried about what people will think of him.
You’re worried about labels and stigmas, and the fact that everything you know about Autism isn’t like your child.
Your child is special, amazing, unique.

But he’s also exhausting, challenging, confusing, and your heart feels shattered every other day and sometimes every other moment.

And you’re wrung out, tired of chasing, coaxing, soothing, wrestling, pleading, convincing, defending, of being terrified every time you walk out the door, or enter a store, or visit grandma’s house, or introduce a new food.
Mostly you’re terrified that this—whatever it is—may be your fault.

Maybe you didn’t do the right things during your pregnancy, or during your birth, or during your hospital stay, or during those newborn days.

Mostly you’re afraid that you’re a bad mom. Because, really, (you tell yourself), if you were a “good” mom, he wouldn’t be the way he is.

Dear, dear Mama—hear me now.
You are a good mom.

You are a good mom because you are trying.
You are a good mom because you are worrying and wondering.
You are a good mom because you are seeking answers, even if the answers leave you so scared that you don’t even know how to pray.

Because the answer may be Autism.

I remember.
I was terrified too, so for a long time, I ignored it; I hoped he would grow out of it. I hoped, and prayed, and forced myself to be “better” so he would be “better” too.

But things didn’t get better. They only got more confusing because I couldn’t explain away his behavior anymore, not to my family, or friends, and to myself.

I had no words.

I reached the end of myself, my mother-powers, my justifications, my wonderings, and what-ifs.

So I took the leap and sought professional help for the answer.

And it came: Autism.

It crushed me and put me back together all at the same time.
It suddenly all made sense, all the pieces that were simultaneously foreign and familiar.

They fit.

I finally had a name for everything we had been experiencing for 8 years.

And do you know what? My son, my beautiful, funny, loving, quirky son, didn’t change because we got the diagnosis.
He was Autistic all along. We just didn’t have the words to explain our reality.

But when we did, when we knew the word and accepted the word and said the word—Autism—things changed.

It was the key to open the doors that we needed to get help for our son, and for us too.
Autism opened the doors to therapy, to counseling, to school support.
But even more than that, it opened the doors to understanding, to compassion, to greater patience, to better parenting.

It helped me accept my son…and myself. I wasn’t a bad parent.

And neither are you.

I was just scared. I know you are too.
I get it.
AutismDiagnosisBut here’s the truth: Autism may not be the path you would choose, but if your child is Autistic, you’re already on it.

Right now, you’re in the dark.
But a diagnosis turns on the lights.

It’s blinding for a little while, but then? You’ll be able to see, really truly See.

You’ll be able See your child for who he really is, with all his gifts and challenge, his possibilities and potential.
You’ll See yourself more clearly too, more gracefully and tenderly.
And you’ll be able to See where you end and where others begin.

Seeking a diagnosis is a big step. It’s huge and scary.

The truth always is.
But you can do it. You can take this step.
Because you’re a good mom, and all good moms are brave.

Wishing you all the love, peace, and joy in the world because you have so much Good in store for you,
An Autism Mom

Want to read more of our story?
Benji’s Story: Our ASD Diagnosis
10 Signs of High Functioning Autism that I missed
Yes, labels can change a person (but not the person you think!)

I hope that my story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please like and share! Thank you! 🙂

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