If I could have just been a little better, a little smarter, a little more proactive, a little more succesful, done a little more research–a little more of anything but what I actually was or did–then, maybe, just maybe, I could have began getting my baby early intervention sooner. Maybe if I’d done something different, my kid would be higher functioning than they currently are. Or, maybe my child might not have ended up with Autism at all.
Have you ever caught yourself trapped in this kind of thinking? Jumping through mental and emotional hoops just to figure out what you could have done differently? I will be the first to admit that I definitely have. In the days leading up to and shortly after my son’s diagnosis, I spent many nights thinking these things after my son went to bed. The truth was that I was mad at myself and wondered if I had failed as a mother.
The negative self-talk and internalization nearly drove me crazy. Often times, we are our own worst critic. For Autism moms though, that self-criticism often goes into overdrive. I soon began to realize that none of this was my fault. It was nobody’s fault. I had to teach myself to change that inner dialogue and be kind to myself. I had to learn to forgive myself and accept myself, especially if I wanted the chance to be the best advocate for my son I possibly could. I had to learn how to love myself unconditionally and allow myself to grow and redesign my life to help set my son up for success.
Understanding who I am and showing myself the same grace that I show others has made all the difference. I became a better Autism Mom because of it. If you ever find yourself struggling with this type of thinking, please do this for me:
Pause, right now. Take a deep breath and tell yourself the truth: You ARE a wonderful parent. You are CAPABLE. And, your beautiful autistic child loves you UNCONDITIONALLY. No strings attached, no hoops to jump through, no list to check off. Just as you are, right now, you are ENOUGH. And, you always will be. Keep rocking the universe, my fellow Autism Moms!