When I was pregnant with you, I would dream about us shopping together and doing our nails as we talked about your current crush or best friend. I planned your nursery of pinks and soft lavenders, choosing the frilliest of dresses and gowns that were completely impractical. I wanted to give you everything I never had. We were going to be that mom and daughter you see in movies that have the perfect relationship, have no secrets, and swap clothes as much as they share conversation.
I had your perfect little life planned out and I would do everything I could to make it happen.
Things don't always go to plan. I learned that about a week after you came home. Since you were my third child, I had an idea or two of what to expect. Yet, you were nothing like the others. Each time I held you, you would scream as if I were hurting you. The only time you wished to be close to me was to nurse, and then you would leave out these guttural wails until I placed you back in the bassinet. There, you were content, looking at me from a distance. So, I adapted. I would lay next to you on the floor for hours, just to be near you. I would look into your eyes trying to figure out why you hated me.
We co-existed for months like this. I would take you to the doctor and insist that something was different, I just didn't know what it was. The pediatrician would suggest things to help us bond and I would try them, typically both of us would end up in tears. As you grew older, I noticed there were more things that would make you cry. I couldn't turn a fan on or have you in a room with air conditioning because you would go into hysterics. Anytime you would see a bee or a fly, you would cry so hard you would make yourself ill.
At your three year checkup I was at my wits end. I knew something was very wrong and I just needed to know how to fix it. I wanted to be a better mom to you and I didn't know how. This is when the doctor finally listened to the long list of your "quirks" that we had managed to navigate over the past few years. It was then I first heard the word Autism.
For many parents, they hate the diagnosis and they go into a sort of denial. For me, I had a tremendous sense of relief. I finally had a word. I had something I could research, something I could get answers from, something to connect me to you. You would not hug or kiss me. Although you knew hundreds of words, you refused to say "I Love You" to me. When you went to the psychologist and a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was made, it all clicked. I was so thankful, I was elated because you did not hate me. It was not my fault. I had spent three years blaming myself and now I had a name for what caused you to act this way, and I could start to help you.