My beautiful baby – Autism

New parents have so much to think about now.  There are some many great and wonderful things to learn and experience about having a new baby; it seems sometimes as though we are overwhelmed with wonder.  First check, do they have all fingers and toes, are they healthy, of course they are just look at that tiny hand and fingers.  Their whole fist rubs their eyes and they seem so vulnerable.  We will soon take this beautiful, delightful bundle of joy, promise and plans home.

When we first get home everything is new and exciting.  Each new baby holds new needs and surprises for us.  Most of all each new baby, whether the first or the tenth, has only us to depend upon for all its needs.  As we settle into the role of mother and father with this child of ours, we begin to see a future and in that future is a perfect baby, healthy child and beautiful person.  Except, there is just this nagging feeling at the back of our minds, something is just not quite right.  We, at first, aren’t sure what it is or even if there is anything to worry about.

Friends and relatives tell us all new parent worry, it goes with the territory.  We try to put it away and move forward, but now.  Our baby is not hitting the growth and intellectual milestones, our doctor says we will just watch closely for a few months and see.  After all, all babies are different.  When we were pregnant everything seemed alright, with feeling movement, hearing the heartbeat, seeing the head, legs and arms on the sonogram.

Now while sitting at the table prepared to feed him, we realize it is not our imagination, he doesn’t look at us.  I am his Mom and he looks past me.  His eyes will totally avoid me.  Maybe it is a bad day.  No, no when breast feeding he still will not look at me.  And it is past time for him to roll over on his own.  He doesn’t seem to be connected; there is a lack of recognition.  What’s wrong with my baby?

We have gone to doctor after doctor and there just doesn’t seem to be an answer.  And while we are doing nothing, matters seem to be getting worse.  We have searched and searched on the internet looking for the answer.  After all, we are supposed to provide for him.  How can we, we don’t know what to provide, what is wrong with my baby?  And then a doctor says the word, Autism.

What is Autism?  And so the quest begins, per www.Autismspeaks.com   Autism is the culmination of several different diseases which will trigger delay and/or no development is some areas of the brain.  There are different names for each of these diseases Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Autism spectrum and these studies show boys are almost 5% more likely to get this disease than girls.  In a family 1 child can have it while the others do not or all could have it.  We just don’t know enough yet.

How did this happen? Did I do something while pregnant?  Did I or the father pass this on to our beautiful baby?  How can we help make things right?  Are all the dreams and plans gone?  Where do we turn for help?  All of these and so many more are questions parents ask every day they work with their child with Autism.  The truth is we have so much to learn in the medical community we can’t answer all these questions.  However, we are making great strides in research and education.  There are places where we (the parents) can get help for our child and ourselves.

And, here is something we do know.  The hardship and blame this disease puts on a family is equivalent to losing a child to death.  The parents are guilt ridden because they cannot help this beautiful child and are unable to get through the grieving stage of being unable to prevent, help or restore, the life they had planned is not going to happen and oh so many more stigmas attached to wanting to help, protect, build, look into a bright future which is now in peril.  We in the medical community must move forward with diagnosis, education, therapies and answers for our communities.  Because, yes, it is the entire community who is grieving with this family; this is a hope possibly unfulfilled within a family or community.