Please visit "What Are They Thinking?" blog: www.survivingmotherhood-mom26children.blogspot.com
A great blog, an amazing family, & valuable insight into the realities of raising six children, FIVE of which are autistic, and all the JOY that EACH of their kids bring. Their mom has written some really incredible entries. They were on Extreme Makeover-Homeowner's Edition last night & wow! To see the family, their struggles, but mostly their HOPE was inspirational. It was a great episode, and YES finally, a very positive show on T.V. dealing with autism. Cheers to Jeanette & family!!!
Since when did we, as parents, become owed a certain spec of a child? Are we obligated to get a 'normal' kid, maybe even a blue eyed, blonde haired darling who will undoubtedly either be hero quarterback or bubbly cheerleader? That seems to me what so many of these parents feel. Those who are so steadfastly 'fighting' to cure their child. I can't even fathom the amount of money, time, & energy these parents spend on trying to normalize their children. Their assumption is that they lost their child. In their mind, children 'with autism' have had their souls stolen from them.
The basic undertone I hear time & time again from these parents is that this kid is not what they signed up for. They dreamed of a child who they could easily take out to restaurants, have fun in playgroups, have a big group of friends, and certainly never have to 'explain' certain behaviors while in public. They whine about how their kid can't ride a bike or how they always wanted a son who would play Little League. As if any of that is the end of the world. It seems as if they thought they were guaranteed some sort of "NeuroTypical Entitlement" & are pissed as hell the deal was not followed through on. How dare they not have a 'normal' child? What will their family, friends, neighbors say? How ever will they explain this 'situation' to others? I see so much resentment toward their children.
All of that hatred toward life & how unfair it can be spirals into blame & anger. They find causes to point their fingers at--vaccines, drinking water, french fries, the list goes on & on... They band together to form armies to alert others of the terror that lies from these so-called causes. Websites, support groups, organizations form to warn & scare other parents. Don't vaccine your kid or they'll end up like mine! All of this, I suppose, let's them sleep better at night. If there's outside blame to lay, something to point to & get angry at, well, there's some peace to that. It's comforting to not have to look at yourself or to simply accept something that you cannot understand at first glance.
I imagine that had I spent the last few years angry & bitter, devoting much of my time to assigning blame & focusing on a 'cure,' my child would not be thriving as she is. Instead of looking at her & seeing someone who was lost, and feeling as if I'd been jipped, I got on with it. I saw through the things my child wasn't doing, and saw what she WAS doing. Yes...even the kids who are sitting alone, staring out a window rocking, they are doing something. A lot of these parents don't see it. Look past the walls we as parents often feel locked out of.
Let go of whatever guilt, shame, fear, embarrassment, and anger you have. When we become pregnant or adopt a child, we are in no way entitled to a 'normal' just-like-everyone-else-kid. There is a slippery slope of wanting a 'normal' kid & not a disabled one. Naturally, no one wishes or hopes for a disabled child, I doubt anyone dreamt of having an autistic child either. It's not exactly what goes through your mind when you're picking out a nursery theme. But, what defines someone as being disabled? And, what would that spectrum of disability look like? Who decides? Who decided Down's Syndrome was too tough on parents? As more & more people look to "cure autism," it is a fine line they walk. Hitler wanted a nation where everyone was 'perfect.' I can't help but see the connection when it comes to the autism debate. We as parents have to make sure that our children are accepted & not ostracized in the years to come. None of us are 'owed' a certain child, love your child--however it is that they are.