Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's All My Fault!

There is a small voice inside my heart and soul that speaks to me at times and it shouts at me, "It's all your fault!" Sometimes this voice is from the actual words family, friends and teachers have suggested to me. And, for some reason, I have held onto them. I need to let them go. Sometimes it is just pure paranoia.
Regardless, it is a voice I am always trying to drown out. And, at times, I listen to it and it makes me want to cave in and go away on an emotional coma.

As a mother to two children on the spectrum, it is unavoidable to blame yourself at sometime or another, especially in today's world. If you are a parent with a child on the autism spectrum, then perhaps you too hear a voice that distracts you.

"It is all your fault that your daughter has so many problems. And here is why:
- You didn't take your prenatal vitamins
- You worked and traveled too much when you were pregnant
- You worked and traveled too much as soon as you had your babies
- You had a party when Sienna was only two months old and let too many people hold her
- There were too many flashing lights and electric vibrating contraptions in her baby toys
- You let her sit in her bouncy seat too much
- You nursed her laying down too much, you should have cradle nursed
- You only nursed her for nine months and then you let your milk dry because you didn't want to pump while at work any more
- You partied too much in your 20s
- You were a difficult child so this is pay back time. HA HA HA (But it isn't funny at all.)
- You eat too much and you're too fat and lazy
- You colored your hair that one time when you were pregnant
- You gave Sienna Baby Tylenol too much when she seemed cranky or in pain
- You let your baby watch too much Baby Einstein's
- You didn't spend enough time with your baby even though when you tried, she seemed like she always ran away from you
- The sound of your voice made the baby scream and run away - the sound of your voice makes everyone run away
- You didn't know how to be a good mom so now your child is depressed
- You don't nurture your child like you should and now she is lonely
- You don't spend enough time with your girls even though you left your career to be a stay at home mom and play games, read books and do crafts with them whenever they want!
- You don't spend enough time tucking your daughter in at night and that is why she angrily cries, "I don't want to be alive!" at the age of 6 after you say your final, "Good Night"
- Maybe you didn't read enough to her when you tuck her in - even though you have read to her 1 - 5 books nightly since she was in your belly
- No one else thinks anything is wrong with your kids - they only see a mom who lets her kids get away with too much
- You keep going to doctor after doctor, someone is bound to tell you your child has autism
- Don't you hold your kids?
- Your toddler seems hungry, even though she ate two bowls of oatmeal for breakfast and a granola bar before we came to the store
- Your toddler is just tired, even though, she got a solid night of sleep and her nap time isn't for another 3 hours
- You should tell your children to behave
- You should be a better mom
- You should try to be more rational when dealing with your daughter. After all, you are the parent.
- Why do you worry so much?
- Why are you so hard on yourself?
- Why don't you try to do this?
- You should read this book or that book or this therapy or that therapy, have you tried the special diet?
- Maybe if you tried doing this, she will get better
- Your kids will outgrow this
- This is just a phase
- You have no control of your children
- Other moms talk about you behind your back and think you probably abuse your children
- Your daughter doesn't get invited to parties or play dates because she is probably contagious
- We don't see anything wrong with your daughters; they seem like typical children to us. Maybe you expect too much from them
- You need to love your kids more, they are just kids
- All kids chew on the tables and chairs and books and lick the windows and door knobs
- Maybe you feed them too much sugar and food dyes
- Kids are just kids
- You are blowing it out of proportion

And, I take a deep breath. I remember that God has trusted me to care for these special girls. We are on a different path than most and I believe that God has a special plan for these children and for me. I am taking it one day at a time. God knows my story, he is the author of life. He knows me and my girls and He will guide me as I embark on this journey of motherhood.


Angela said...

Hi Andrea! I do have a kiddo on the spectrum...my son Xander, who is 6, has mild Autism.

I love your post... I always tell people 'God isn't finished with him yet!' Look forward to reading more of your blog... thanks for visiting my blog!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I think all mothers have many of these same doubts and fears. My kids are gifted and yet many of your statements are things I've said, myself.

Hang in there. I believe that having these doubts is a sign of a good, caring mother.

JenniBeanV said...

One day at a time is the best we all can do as parents!

autismfamily said...

Many of these could have been said about me, just switch girls to boys.

I ceased all communication with my Mother in 2001, her negative attitude was not welcome anymore. It did help that we are in CA and they are in NJ.

I learned of my fathers passing two months after via a call from my brother who I had not spoken to in 10 years. He found my number in my dads wallet. My father was sick with myeloma for over a year. I have no plans to ever contact that woman who gave birth to me. She said it was because of their father who is paranoid schizophrenic. Alzheimers runs in the family so she is the next one to get it.

Shannon@Vogue Mum said...

Leave the guilt in the garbage!! That is just where the enemy knows he can get you. Stick it to him:) There is a reason and as long as you keep seeking, God will reward that.

Rock Star Maternity
The Domestic Engineer's Union

Helene said...

I love the last paragraph of this post!!! Your girls are special gifts from God and obviously God chose you to be their mother. I think they are extremely blessed to have you as their mother!

I've also had the very same concerns about my kids that you listed....my inner dialogue with myself is enough to keep me awake at 3:00 in the morning!

Sage and Savvy said...

As parents we always have fears and worries about the "what if I did this or that instead, or didn't do this or that" thoughts.

Just continue to be the best parent you can be and believe in what you noted in your last paragraph...everything happens for a reason...and you wouldn't have been given this responsibility if God didn't think you could handle it.

Lilly's Life said...

I firmly believe that things are meant to be. God chose you to mother these beautiful children because you are the best one to do so. Something tells me that you are such a talented, clever and strong person who also has a fantastic sense of humor. How lucky are your children to get a mother like that! I think sometimes, besides the guilt inducing thoughts all mothers share (we all face issues even though they are not the same issues and you will find most people will never share them), we just have to throw our hands up to the universe and say what is meant to be is meant to be and we will try our best to get through one day at a time as best we can. Take Care.

stickymama said...

This is heartbreaking and familiar. We are so hard on ourselves. As mothers we feel we're supposed to be perfect, that we can't afford to fail at anything. I hope you find strength and an outlet for your fears in your writing.

Elizabeth Channel said...

Wait a minute--are you in my head?

No seriously, these are so similar to the ruminations that churn through my head at night, too.

Just cling to the fact that God authors your story just as he created your children. And He is ultimately Good.

Thank you for sharing and continuing to be so candid.

Daisy said...

I wish I had the Mother Theresa quote nearby: the one where she says that God only gives us what we can handle, and she wished He didn't think she was so competent. I've often felt that way. My son's autism is most likely genetic, linked to his congenital blindness, so we don't look for fault.

lonestar818 said...

I hate to admit it, but I have had so many of the same thoughts... all 3 of my kids are on the spectrum and mostly I manage to stay positive but those thoughts can creep up when I least expect them. Like once when I heard a mom with both NT and spectrum kids point out in response to being questioned about her parenting skills that if she was such a bad parent how did her NT kids not have the same issues? Totally valid point but somewhere in the back of my head that voice asked, what does that say about me?

Despite the doubts that come up here and there though, I don't truly believe that we as mothers did anything to "cause" this, it just happened and you know, it's not all bad. Our kids are amazing just the way they are. As you referred to in your last paragraph, there must be some reason that God has trusted us with these special children.