I think most moms deal with some element of “mommy guilt”. Guilt that they should be doing this, or shouldn’t be doing that.
Austin’s diagnosis has brought mommy guilt to a whole new level. Did I take something during pregnancy that affected him? Was it because I didn’t take many prenatal vitamins? Was it the hospitalizations because I was so sick?
Sometimes, without realizing it, others contribute to the guilt with questions like “What is causing so much autism, is it something in our food?” And then immediately there’s guilt because we didn’t eat healthy enough, or organic enough.
Austin being the youngest of 3 also adds another element that’s hard for me to think about. Were my hands so full with the other 2, and him riding around in the car so much each day contributing factors? Did he not get enough love and attention?
On top of it all the autism doctor we saw mentioned that he hates that infants are put on reflux medication. In his opinion they are not safe. Well, Austin was placed on reflux medication as a newborn because of a severe episode of choking he had one morning. I was never told about any side effects, and I completely trusted the doctor’s that this was perfectly safe for my infant. And maybe it was. Who really knows?
I could make myself crazy with all the questions, the doubts, the what-ifs.
But then I think about this in terms of my faith and what I believe.
God knew exactly the plans He had for Austin before he was even conceived. Nothing I did or didn’t do messed up what was meant to be. Beating myself up does nothing to help my little boy. I need to be the best I can be so that I can help him as much as I can.
Austin is wonderfully made exactly the way he is supposed to be. We don’t know why autism is part of his life, and we grieve for the things we are missing out on, the things we thought we would get to experience with a son.
All we can do is hang on to what we know: that God is faithful, and He will give us what we need going forward.