My Greatest Fear Turned Out to be Wrong

There were a lot of people around me having babies. The conversation always turned too, “when was I going to get pregnant?” from everyone who has ever carried a baby. I have heard a few people say, “I was so scared that I would have an ugly baby. My worst fear is having an ugly baby.”

REALLY?!

Of all of the horrible things that can happen, your greatest fear is an ugly baby? What about fetal death? Horrible birth defects that lead to physical and cognitive impairments and various health implications? Heart defects? Chromosomal abnormalities?

Some random unknown-unheard-of-affliction that might be special to your child and no doctor has ever seen or heard of it? I feared everything while I was pregnant with my babies, and I hardly gave a second thought to what they would look like. My first pregnancy ended in emergency surgery at seven weeks (it was ectopic), so that set me up for worry for any and all pregnancies that followed.

Do you know what my “greatest fear” was?

Autism.

Because I worked with kids who were on the spectrum, I knew (correction, I thought I knew!) what it was like. The parents always seemed so sad. It was an effort to get their kids to therapy. It was an effort to get them to interact.

Small everyday things seemed such a challenge. Everything just seemed to require so much effort. Hard. Sad.

I guess you could say that I’m here, just living my nightmare, my worst fear. But, you know what?

Our lives are not a nightmare. If I had to choose three words to describe my life, they would be: blessed, full, contented. Of course I have sad days, but the good days far outweigh the bad.

Are things harder sometimes? Yes. Are there things I wish Colin could do that he still can’t do? Absolutely. Do I wish things were easier for him? Do I want a “normal” life for him? Do I worry about him and his future? Yes, yes, and yes.

I am writing this post to say this: You never really know what you can do until you’re given the opportunity.

I went to graduate school with a girl who really enjoyed working with kids on the spectrum. She said once, “I guess if anyone were going to have an autistic child, it should be me because I would know what to do with them.” I panicked inside when she said that and thought, “ah, not me!”

And yet, God gave me a son with autism.

He gave him to me. He allowed me the opportunity to be his Mommy.

As I type this, I see the verbiage I chose: gave, allowed, opportunity. You see, my son is a gift. He is exactly as God intended him to be, and I get to be his Mommy.

Ten years ago, I would not have chosen those words to describe having a child with autism. But, here is the thing I missed all those years ago when I was terrified of having a child with autism: he is my baby.

First and foremost, he is Colin. He is my sweet, cuddly, energetic, curious, silly, beautiful boy. He just happens to have autism. It is just a part of him, it does not define who he is or who he will become.

Written by, Deidra Darst

My name is Deidra and I am a speech language pathologist and my husband is a programmer. We have a 3 year old named Collin who just received his autism diagnosis. We also have a 4 year old son named Finley. We love Disney. We also have a small hobby farm with about 60 ducks and chickens. You can follow our journey at theslpmom.com.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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