My Life as an #Autism Mom
By Melinda Vasquez | Published on July 27, 2020 | 2 Minute Read
I can start from when I noticed a change or shift. After her MMR vaccine, she got a fever. Her first fever, in fact, so far after a vaccine. I didn’t think anything of it. She stopped dancing to the music we played. She became more reserved. Please do not misconstrue what my point is to this beginning. I don’t believe vaccines cause autism. Her most obvious personality changes that I can recall occurred during that time.
I am an autism mom # autism strong or rocks or whatever. Cooper's mom stated it best that one day she posted her struggles when autism won that day. This is not about self loathing as much as it’s about educating those you have little to not knowledge of autism or those who have strong opinions with no first hand experience.
My sweet Rachel was a “business of being born” baby. An unwanted c section was her way into this world. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I had always wanted to be a mother. She made me one and I love her extra for that. I was struggling with breastfeeding and supplementing. That journey came to an end when she was seven months. She wasn’t hitting her milestones after about 8 months or so. Her babbling was more like stutters. She loved, became indifferent, then hated anyone other than myself and my husband. These events were never considered as major concerns to us at the time. She was and is a happy child.
I knew right away. This is not a bagging right I want to own, trust me. I knew and joined a Facebook autism parent support group about a year and a half before the official diagnosis. She was evaluated locally when she was about 16 months. The tester was covered in puzzle piece ribbons and wearing a t- shirt; she was the whole nine yards. “I believe she is on the autism spectrum.” She handed me a paper, mentioned an additional referral for additional tests and pointed me to the exit. Some support it right. I called my mother in the parking lot and expressed my denial. My mom agreed. “She’s too young” “What do they know.” “They don’t know her.” After that day I never expressed denial again.
I’m not a religious person. I may have bargained with god, but I doubt it. I flipped flopped between accepted and angry for what seemed like forever. I am still angry that she has to struggle. It’s not fair for any human to be at war with themselves or their senses. It’s painful and painful to watch.
I am an autism mom. I sometimes envy moms with neurotypical children. But I don’t want a different child, just my child without the sensory issues.
My daughter is non verbal, pre verbal, not there yet, whatever. I have been told I’m negative; I’m realistic. I love my children no matter what their handicap or personality defect or whatever issue. Any mother who cares and loves their children selflessly and unconditionally would understand. I’m sorry but when you have to readjust your expectations of your child, you can relate more to what I’m referring to in this context. I mean all parents discover their children have personalities of their own and you cannot change them, in a general sense. Imagine if that expectation was turned 180. Your view has to change.
My children and I have morning and evening routines just like every other parent. I can switch things up with my autistic child. She can handle it for now. She is moderate on the spectrum. She stems and laughs and gets upset quickly. She and I are learning together, without help, how to regulate and defuse situations.
She has a therapist that comes to the house. She goes to pre k special education. She rides the bus to and from school.
Am I used to her arm flapping? Yes. Am I used to her sucking on her fingers? No. It’s nasty looking and sounding. I correct certain behaviors I deem not acceptable. That’s my choice as a parent. I’m not physically restraining her, but she does not self harm or harm others so I do not have to currently.
My sweet Rachel is beautiful. I want her to do her best. I’m like every other parent. If I could take away her autism I would. I would take away the pain and confusion it causes her. She deserves better than her autistic brain. I see her fight. I see her push herself. I see her wanting to communicate. She says some words all within the context of a conversation. She deserves more out of her life.
I am flawed. I am still learning about this. I wanted to share a little bit more. My child is autistic but she is more than that. She is an amazing person. I want her to live a happy and fulfilling life.
More selfishly, I want her to be happy with me. I hope I can provide what she needs and wants for her life.
The spectrum is so wide and she is so young. Her capabilities remain to be seen. Autistic individuals do not meet milestones on a “typical” timeline. I’m excited to see what she can do. We just won’t know exactly when. Lots of love and positive vibes.
About the Author
My name is Melinda Vasquez. I am 32 years old. I am in retail management. I have an autistic 4 year old daughter and a 15 month old son hitting his milestones. In my free time I love to craft and sensory play with my kids, cook, and paint.