When your baby dies you spend the first months torturing yourself with trying to figure out what you did, so you can prevent it next time, so you’ll know why you hurt so much, so you can spend the rest of your life knowing it was you, that it was something, the answer in its self holds some magical key to knowing, and knowing is better than wondering.
When your son has Autism, you deny it at first. You think ah, it’s mild, we’ll get him some therapy, he’ll still catch up. Then you work at understanding a condition that no one understands, but has theories abound. As he grows, and your other children speak more, interact more, play normally more, the more his differences shine, the more you want to fix it. But fixing it requires reading about it, and reading about it means your gonna feel like crap. Because you’ll read dozens (hundreds?) of articles, most of which will tell you of what the author thinks is a contributing factor to the cause of Autism.
Bring on the GUILT.
If I thought my imagination could come up with ways I caused this, it has nothing on the doctors, psychologists, and therapists who have data to support their theories. There’s nothing like reading about how you screwed up your kid, and they have the data to prove it. Don’t get me wrong, none of theses studies are written with one finger pointed at the parents, but it’s hard not to feel as though it’s all your fault.
How you might be wondering is it all my fault? Today Kyle came to me about a study that shows kids with parents who have gluten sensitivities are x times more likely to have an Autistic kid. Because of poor nutrient absorption while pregnant, and then passing along that sensitivity to the baby makes for poor nutrient absorption, which then has neurological implications. Great one more thing.
So here’s the list
Elijah is a twin, I chose to take clomid to fill empty arms
He was born prematurely
He was induced, an unnecessary induction, I went ahead and approved out of fear
I had over a dozen Ultrasounds
He had a traumatic birth
He was under 6 pounds
He had jaundice
I feed him all kinds of dairy, gluten, and artificial colours for three years
I immunized him not only to Canadian standard, but then had him poked some more to update him to American standards. My gut told me not to, but Kyle is pro immunizations, so I conceded. I have a memory of Elijah’s first birthday where I was asked if he was talking yet, I answered not really, and just after I said that, he said “all done” (he was eating in his high chair) The asker said “I would call that talking.” He was in fact uttering a few small words a few days latter we immunized and over time he lost his language.
I am gluten sensitive
Theses are just the big ones I won’t go into the little things that plague me, like letting him eat dirt, or if I may have rocked him to hard. The more the experts learn, the more they explore Autism, the better the outcomes are for Elijah, or for future prevention, so I encourage it, not only on a vocal level, but financially as well. Elijah deserves the best, and other kids not yet born deserve some form of prevention.
All these reasons, all these things, leave me feeling as though I didn’t do my best to protect him.
And there’s a terrible fear within me, that I may have to go through it all over again with this new baby. The Lord may know the scale of my life better than I, but I don’t know if I can right the scale with another Autistic baby. I spend most of my pregnancy aware of whether I’m nauseous enough, is the baby moving, always a flicker of fear, but always watching, wondering if my baby is normal, hitting milestones, is just a way of prolonging my state of on the edge.
I feel like I haven’t taken a deep breath in years.