When we first got the autism diagnosis, and even when we just suspected it, it really felt like nothing but a huge red flag of failure.
Failure to spend every free minute playing with him, so he became autistic.
Failure to read to him every day, if I had, maybe he would let me read to him now.
Failure to take my prenatal vitamins every day. I could have prevented this.
Failure to think for myself: gave complete trust to my doctor and allowed my children to be immunized according to the doctor's schedule.
Failure to pick the right spouse and genetically setting my child up for autism.
Failure to see my child change right before my eyes until he was so far gone, anyone could see it.
.... Maybe if I hadn't taken so many hot baths when I was pregnant.
.... Maybe if I ate more organic food when I was pregnant.
.... Maybe if I exercised when I was pregnant.
Was I being punished because I never wanted twins in the first place?
Was I being punished because I cried for three hours when I found out I would have a house full of boys, not dancing princesses as I had always envisioned?
Was I being punished for making some terrible life choices in years past?
Was it a combination of everything? Some of it? Or none of it?
I had to work through a lot of guilt and blame. But here's what I know:
Even if it's my fault that he's autistic, it will be me who brings him back.
After months of wondering, I finally went back and watched every video clip I have from August-November. No one would have ever known. I am not a bad mother. Even when he was at his most symptomatic, he still had so many moments of clarity and presence. I have the proof. Attaching a video here from late October. You'd never, ever know the child in this video would be diagnosed just 6 weeks later as autistic. In retrospect, he never looks when I call his name. But he is engaged in conversation with me throughout.
I didn't sit back and do nothing. The minute I was worried, I got Birth to Three involved.
The minute I got a diagnosis, I started doing research.
As soon as I got answers, I implemented a plan.
And I love him. More than anything.
That's not failure.