After 9 months of waiting for your little miracle to arrive, it finally happens. You see your child for the first time and you feel love like you have never thought possible. You may have loved many people or things in your life but nothing like this. Everything is perfect and you finally bring them home and begin your new life as a parent. After a few months, you get into the groove of things. Everything soon becomes second nature. A few months after that you start to notice things. They are little and you probably should not worry but you do anyway. You visit your pediatrician for some peace of mind. They tell you it is nothing to worry about. However, after a while it becomes clear that something is wrong. Your child just seems detached and less interested in you. You return to your pediatrician, half of you expecting (and the other half of you just hoping) once again to hear everything is ok. This time however, you hear the word Autism for the first time. Your life as you know it is about to change forever. Your heart is broken in a way that never truly heals. You literally feel your entire world come crashing down around you.
Then all of the questions begin swirling around in your head. What happened? What does this mean for them or for you? Will your child be ok? Then the big ones hit. You begin to question yourself. Is this your fault? What did you miss? Can you deal with this? You will learn and eventually come to accept the fact that it is not your fault but it takes time for that to happen and honestly part of you will never believe that. You are about to begin a new journey, one you had not planned on or prepared for. This journey will take you through heartbreak, frustration, exhaustion and despair. Most of your dreams for the future are now just a faded memory. There will be times you will think you have hit rock bottom only to fall further. You will lose friends and family because they are not equipped to travel along with you on this journey. You will see who your real friends and family are and move forward. The heartache and pain will give birth to compassion, unconditional love and acceptance.
This journey will be challenging but also the most amazing journey of your life. You will learn things about yourself that only your Autistic child could teach you. Life will slow down because you know how precious every single minute is. All the things that can be done will soon replace all the things you thought you would miss. While you will fight EVERY SINGLE DAY for a way to remove any burden your child carries, you will accept and love them for who they are. The strength to move forward will be found in every hug and kiss you receive from your little one. Nothing will be taken for granted no matter how big or small because you now see the world differently. You finally realize that your child has been the one teaching you all along. Everything you are and will become is a result of all your child has taught you. You have just witnessed the birth of a special needs parent..