Trust your gut, even if it is not popular, especially if it is not popular.
My son has been diagnosed with Autism after an entire year of meltdowns, being bullied, made fun of and then wanting to give up on life.
When he was only 2 years old, I knew that he was not like other children his age. I sought the advice of my doctor, friends, family, other Moms and a couple of pediatricians.
Each person assured me that he was fine, it was his circumstance, life situation, challenges and difficulties that caused the behavior and meltdowns.
They had said it was the terrible two’s, then the Tyrannosaurus Rex Threes blamed it on parenting, my divorce and the moving away of his brother.
I took him to play therapy for a year, read book after book, attended parenting courses and nothing worked. My friends quit inviting me over, told me that I was a terrible Mom, my family distanced themselves and I grew more and more ashamed, isolated and worried.
Deep inside my soul, in the pit of my stomach, I knew that something was wrong. It itched in a place that I could not scratch and since no one would believe me, I quieted the little voice and tried to go on as if everything was normal.
After a year of my son having daily headaches and nosebleeds, I quit my job and took some time off. My own health had taken a huge dive and not only did he need my time and love, I needed it to.
My son woke up one morning and wouldn’t get out of bed. He said his head hurt for the 366th time and this time I listened to the now loud, smashing feeling in my gut. I took him to Children’s Hospital.
A Neurologist took a look at him an pulled me aside to ask if I had noticed my son was different. Thinking he was dying of a tumor I cried my eyes out. He explained that he was physically healthy yet the stress he was under could be what was causing the headaches.
He sent us to a pediatrician he recommended and also for a brain scan. Thank God, the brain scan came back normal and the pediatrician told me upon the first meeting that my son was Autistic. Again, I bawled in her office and told her that I felt horrible for listening to everyone else and forcing him to go along with life as “normal” for so long.
My son’s Dad and I had been apart for a long time, and after the visit to Children’s Hospital, agreed on most everything. We paid to have a private assessment so that we could have it done right away. He was assessed with Autism and as a friend of mine said, “once you have a diagnosis, you can make a plan.”
I felt so confused, all these years I was right and instead of feeling satisfaction, I was really upset. Disbelief, wonder, and a million questions took up residence in my head for a while.
From that point, a lot happened: we made a plan with the school, learned new ways of parenting, decided to school him at home, became home learners and joined the Canucks Autism Network and a few other support systems.
We are still in the infancy of learning how to best support our son. His headaches have nearly stopped, he went from one or two a day to one or two a month. My son went from having a meltdown every day to once a week. He has quit saying that he wonders why he was put on this earth and once and a while smiles.
I believe we all have an intuition that lies deep inside of us. There are many reasons why we turn it off, please trust your gut, even if it is not popular, especially if it is not popular.