From the moment we find out we’re expecting, the fantasizing begins. Dreams of who our children will be, what their passions will be, what they will look like, and above all else, what awesome parents we will be. At least, thats how it was for me.
When my sweet Austin was born, he had my heart. He was the most perfect baby, and I never imagined him as anything different. The dreaming only intensified after he was born and I was able to love him in person, able to see how perfectly he put my earlier dreams to shame. I never knew how much I could love someone until he was here. He would love me too, and we would cuddle together, do art projects together, I’d teach him how to ride a bike and he would succeed; he couldn’t not do these things, he was perfect.
It didn’t take long for reality to set in. Reality was harsh compared to my dreaming, it told me that my sweet perfect son would struggle to do any of the above. Reality was finally understanding that I couldn’t possibly know what my sons future could hold, to what level he would be able to develop, or if he could ever have the happy life I always imagined.
At nine months old, he quit nursing. By eleven months old, I tried to think about the last time I cuddled him, and couldn’t remember it. By thirteen months old, I was sick of telling people there was nothing wrong with him.
By four he has been through more than I can type in one article, and I see him as perfect more than I ever have before. My son is a fighter, and now I am a fighter too. Any mother of a special needs child knows exactly what I’m talking about, but more than anyone, my words resinate with the mothers of children who didn’t have to live this way.
Our life has been a struggle, one that I feel very blessed to be a part of. I am no longer angry with the hand we were dealt and the choices I made and the people I trusted along the way that brought us here. I am in love with this life, and every day with my family is a blessing for which I am grateful.
I cry when we lose a battle and celebrate when we win one. I once thought of this journey as one battle, one that I would someday win. I now see and accept that our life is going to be one battle after another, and I can’t win every one. We will never stop fighting.
For those of you I haven’t shared this journey with, some can relate, and others will relate at some point down the road, because weather or not you ever have a child with autism, you’ll probably know someone who does. What I want to say to you is this, DO NOT quit the battle before it’s begun. Do not let someone else tell you that nothing can be done because you believe they are qualified to make that call.
The biggest battle we will ever fight is with society. Society tells you that if you fight for your child, you don’t accept them as they are. Society tells me that autism has no cause and no cure. Society also tells me that I am just looking for something to blame, some explanation to hold on to, and about this they are correct.
I am here to say to anyone who will face these struggles in the future, that if you listen and if you believe that nothing can be done, nothing will be done. But if you believe in miracles, and the power of perseverance and the power of prayer, you will succeed. The only choice before you is to pick a side, for that will be the deciding factor.
As for me, I WILL NOT ever quit fighting, I WILL NOT listen to lies when I can see truth in my own home, and I WILL NOT be silenced. There will always be those that want you to blend in and conform. They will ridicule you for your lifestyle choices, they will not understand you, and even some that understand but wish you didn’t.
There is no profit in America’s families knowing the truth. There is no justice for the stolen life of a child. But I am here to tell you that while there is no justice, there IS hope. Never quit searching for answers that doctors and teachers won’t give. No one can care and no one can love and no one can fight like a mother can.
Some call me stubborn, and many will say that I just won’t accept things as they are; they would be correct. If I wasn’t stubborn, and if I accepted things as they are, my son wouldn’t have the life he has today. He couldn’t have made the strides accredited to therapy that he’s made.
There was a long time I fought this battle in silence. I didn’t speak about this because I feared disapproval, and because it took a few years for even me to comprehend how very hard we were actually struggling. I now believe more than ever that I am meant to be here on this path for a reason, and I will never quit fighting for not just my son, but for every one who is lied to.
I WILL NEVER be silenced again, I WILL NEVER conform, and I WILL NEVER quit speaking the truth. If I give light to one deceived mother, or one young woman who looks apon herself as less than enough because of advertising, I will consider my business a success.