I think, one of the main reasons I felt guilt and personal responsibility for causing Andrew’s autism or at least contributing to it; there are so many unknown reasons as to what causes autism that I looked for something concrete. Even if that meant blaming myself. If I could at least put some sort of name, some sort of anything to help me cope and deal… even if there’s nothing that I can do about it now.
Until there are more known answers, maybe after genetic testing to rule out other causes, or brain scans; anything that might help me understand. But, at the same time, I’ve had to come to an acceptance.
I’ve gotten better with managing my personal guilt regarding my son’s autism.
Though, as I said, there are still times where it hits me again. There are no particular triggers, no rhyme or reason, I could just be looking at him or thinking about something that he’s done that day. Or, I could be watching ‘typical’ kids playing and come to the realization that he may or may not have those opportunities. Or, I could be watching my youngest reach her next big milestone or listen to her talk in complete sentences and then the guilt will start to creep in.
Focusing on his positives and celebrating the strengths that he does have or the things that he can do have helped me immensely in dealing with my personal guilt. Still, I think that I’ll always feel some sort of responsibility for his autism because he’s my son. At least until I can get definitive answers to the root of what caused his autism, that guilt will always stay with me.
Coming to terms with my son’s diagnosis took time. Coming to terms with my personal guilt, also took time. But, once I was able to do that, I was also able to help my son more.
As parents, we just want what’s best for our children. I’m NOT A PERFECT PARENT, far from it. And once I was able to come to terms with my guilt and ended my personal blame game, I could focus on being the mom that I needed to be, and that Andrew needed me to be. It’s still there, not as strong as it used to be, but it is still there. Sometimes I think parental guilt is just one of those things that we face as a parent of an autistic child.