As a first time parent, life can be full of surprises. It’s a journey of both love and hardships that I am learning alongside with husband. From the moment I was pregnant I would fee this deep connection with each child. Even after the first two losses I found myself still being able to bond although cautiously with my son’s pregnancy. After he was born, our journey as parents began and its been over two years since then.
My son is my firsthand experience with a newborn and child. I was never the type to gravitate towards children. It wasn’t who I was and I kept it that way until I was ready to have kids of my own. The pieces of motherhood fell into place and it was a beautiful struggle to say the least. Exclusively pumping and sleepless nights from worry, anxiety, first time jitters, appointments, and overall motherhood. You get this idea stuck in your head that you need to be perfect always. That you’re this super being that cannot mistakes no matter what. How can you? This little human that relies on you for everything and anything. This needs to be perfect, I needed to be perfect. But, then it hit me one day. It was perhaps the first night he slept through the night that I realized. I didn’t need to be perfect but present. Present for his needs and his growth in this world. There would be mistakes on the way but I had to learn from those mistakes instead of torturing myself. Yes, mom guilt is real. It’s completely normal and happens to even the best of us.
As a mother or even a parent it’s difficult to come to terms with many things. It’s easy to call yourself crazy when you suspect anything. That’s why when we noticed our son wasn’t meeting his milestones in his speech or social skills. My non verbal son who tend to shy away from other kids and wouldn’t give us eye contact to even smile at times. Didn’t listen to his name when called. How could I miss that? I began to wonder. Was this cause of me? Was there any earlier signs I had missed? Am I crazy to suspect there could be a diagnosis in the near future. Soon when he turned 2 years old, he was evaluated and diagnosed with mild-moderate autism.
When receiving the news. There was a stillness. I knew this was coming but to hear it be confirmed gave me both a sense of relief and yet a feeling of loss. Relief that I was not crazy to see these signs and make the call. A feeling of loss since I knew this meant a unique journey, different sets of worries, and learning to provide a better quality of life for my son. Was I doing the right thing? How would the world see him as he grows? Will we ever be able to communicate with him? Will he have friends? Can we provide the emotional support he needs?
These are all the questions and more that still haunt me currently. I try to take it a day at a time. Between all his therapies and steps we have taken. I’m slowly becoming more confident and seeing any progress has been enlightening for us. I will admit I still have those occasional nights of tears. I don’t blame myself anymore. I love my sweet boy, I will walk this path with him. I will always cherish his quirks and that smile he has when he makes eye contact with us. It may only last seconds before he gets distracted again but I see him. I am proud of his progress and what’s to come.