It is an amazing day when you bring home your child from the hospital. They are so little and cute. You breathe in their new baby smell and think there is nothing that is more perfect.
They grow and change every day. It’s amazing.
You watch them and play with them.
You notice something is different.
In your gut, you know something is off.
Teachers mention your child is not like the other children.
What’s going on?
Is it possible? Your child has a delay? Or could it be AUTISM?
The fear that your child may be different sets in…
I have been in those shoes.
Every possible fear came to my mind.
With the help of family and God, I knew that it was going to be ok. My son was going to be ok.
As parents, we have many fears for our children. And the diagnosis of autism can be one of them. I compiled a list of 10 fears that can make you afraid of an autism diagnosis.
I’m here to tell you it’s going to be ok. You will get through it. Don’t be afraid.
1. I fear that the diagnosis would mean my child is different and I don’t want him to be different.
We live in a society where differences are not always accepted. And being afraid that your child is different is understandable. But we are all different and we are all unique in our own ways. Children with autism just show their differences more.
Let me tell you from my personal experience that it can be such a beautiful thing. These kids see the world from the most amazing perspective. You will always be surprised, impressed and amazed. Your life will never be boring.
And you know what? Just because your child will have a diagnosis doesn’t change who they are. They are the same child you love.
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2. I fear that I couldn’t be the parent my child needs. It means I have to step up and what if I can’t rise to the occasion?
YOU CAN rise to the occasion. YOU CAN be the parent that your child needs. You were blessed with this special child for the reason that YOU CAN do it. Not your neighbor, not some other mom.
And you don’t have to do it alone. God is with you. He is on your side.
It is not true that God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle. He does, all the time. He does that so that you turn to Him and ask Him for help. And He will gladly be there for you.
You will learn patience you never thought you had.
You will learn compassion you didn’t know you’re capable of.
You will grow as a person and as a parent.
Your child will be the reason you will be amazing and just what they need.
3. I fear my child will be treated differently. I fear the stigma around the diagnosis. – If my child has this “label” others will think he’s not smart or that he’s less than.
Your child is already being treated differently. You may not want to hear that but they are. They are different and others will treat them that way. It’s human nature, lack of education, bad parenting, etc.
Do not be afraid of the “label”. This label will give them a chance. It opens doors towards getting the services that your child needs. To learn the skills they need to be their best selves.
And you know what? You don’t need to announce to the world that your child has autism. That is totally up to you. Doctor’s will know, teachers will know, therapists will know. You will know, but it’s up to you how much you want to share about your child with others.
4. I fear for the lack of trustworthy caretakers (at home, therapists, at school, teachers, etc) – When I’m not around my child who will take care of him/her and are they treating my child well? Fair? equal?
This is a very real and legitimate fear. I highly recommend being super involved in your child’s school, therapy, medical care, everything. I don’t even care if someone doesn’t like it.
Ask your child’s teacher about their day. Have a daily or weekly check-in. Meet the therapists and ask for updates, progress, everything! If they are not talking to you first, you talk to them!
And most importantly TALK TO YOUR CHILD. Observe their behavior. Track their behavior. They may be able to tell you verbally what is going on. In that case, believe them. They may not be able to express themselves verbally, find out why they are acting differently when it seems like there is no reason. You know your child best. Trust your gut!
5. I fear that God is punishing me.
I understand this fear. I use to believe the idea that any kind of hardship (and having a special needs child is hard) is a punishment. But the more I read and studied the Bible, and the more I learn about the world I KNOW that this is NOT the case.
Whatever you’ve been through, whatever your past, God forgives and he blesses. Think of it this way, God CHOSE you to be this precious child’s parent. YOU are the only one that can give your baby what they need.
God is giving you an opportunity to grow as a person. He is molding you into who He wants you to be. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it feels unfair at times. But God is in control. Lean on Him. Cry out to Him.
6. I fear that I somehow “damaged” my child.
This fear comes from the belief that somehow your child was damaged because of something you did.
An example is if you believe vaccines (man-made) caused your child’s autism. You may feel guilty because you allowed those vaccines.
I do not wish to start a debate on vaccines. I personally do not believe vaccines cause autism. I also don’t know what your story is. You may believe vaccines are at fault.
On a different level, I do not believe that our autistic children are “damaged”. I do not know the reason my son has it. Although I can speculate it’s one of the symptoms of his chromosomal microdeletion. You can read more about my son here. But that just means he had it since he was conceived. And that to me means God knew and God created him.
God doesn’t create “damaged” anything.
Stop thinking of your child as “damaged”.
Stop blaming yourself or others.
Take on this challenge.
Be the best parent you can be to the child that’s in front of you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:1316 NIV
7. I fear for my child’s future.
I agree that this fear is one that parents, in general, think about all the time.
You have so much hope and dreams for your children but what is going to happen to them once you’re gone?
The autism spectrum is so wide. Every single autistic person is so different. Our children are different. They require different levels of care now and will require different levels of care in the future.
Get your child all the help you can. Teach them everything you can. Help them be their best selves.
Second I would say make plans for their future. Talk to your family and friends. Get everything ready as much as you can.
I am personally not in a place where I am actively planning for my son’s future. But I know that I will have to do it at some point.
8. I heard that autism is from the devil. That’s terrifying.
Yes, you read correctly. I learned that there is a group of people who believe autism is from the devil and basically these children are possessed.
This is not something you need to fear. God created your child. God gave you your child. These children are innocent.
Autism is a complex developmental disability.
9. I don’t know what autism is. Doesn’t it mean my child is dumb?
Oh mama! Don’t ever think that your child is dumb.
Your child is capable of so much. Our goal as parents is to know that and except that they learn and experience things differently, and give them the best life possible.
10. I failed as a parent because I have a child that is different.
Give yourself grace mama!
You did not fail. You’re not a bad parent. Just because your child has autism doesn’t make them a bad child or you a bad parent. Just accept that as a fact.
This diagnosis is something scary and different. But it can also be eye opening and a learning opportunity.
If you’re reading this post you’re already on the right path.
This is just a list of 10 fears. But there are so much more. I know that. I’ve been there and I understand. But don’t be afraid mama. Everything is in God’s hands. You give it all up to HIm. He will give you strength and wisdom that you need. And He will be there when you need Him most.
This autism journey can be scary. But you’re not alone. I am here. So is a whole beautiful community of mama’s that are on the same journey as you.