For Every Autism Mama

For the mama who has just heard the very words that split her heart in half.

He has autism.

For the woman is lost amid a tidal wave of appointments, and meetings, and therapy sessions—who thinks longingly back to the days of high heels, and boardrooms, and a paycheck.

I get it.

The mama who longs for a crystal ball to know the unknowable.

Will he learn to talk, or read, or drive, or work?

Will he graduate, or have a career, or get married?

Who will take care of him when I’m gone?

For the mom who swallows a bubble of rage every time she hears the words honor roll, or most valuable player, or Ivy League.

When it comes to autism, there is no honor roll.

For the mother who is trying her best to make sure all of her other children are getting the attention they need, all while balancing the humongous elephant in the room that is the autism spectrum disorder.

This elephant can be so demanding, and time-consuming, and exhausting.

For the mother who craves time alone, and desperately needs a break from her life.

For every mama who wakes in the night, thoughts of independent living and the side effects of medication and whether or not gluten-free is the answer swirling around in overtired brain, I see you.

For the mother who tirelessly searches the frozen food aisle for the only chicken nuggets he will eat, because the dinner table has become a battlefield of anger and tears.

For the early-dawn riser, the lunch-packer, the bus-stop-waver, I applaud you.

And the homework-helper, the dinner-maker, the bedtime-snuggler, I honor you.

He never snuggles me. He hates my touch.

For every mother who watches as anxiety’s wily snake steals her child like a thief in the night, and considers every option before eventually turning to tiny white pills in an orange vial—who still feels a nagging sense of shame and disappointment when it’s time to call the pharmacy for yet another refill.

These pills, they returned him to me. They brought him back from the brink of something big, and real, and raw.

I still feel a nagging sense of shame, and disappointment.

For the mother of a teenager—a teenager who fits nowhere, and who is tall and gangly and impossibly out of place—this is very hard, I know.

We would give anything for a birthday invitation.

Or a call from a friend.

There are no invitations.

There are no friends.

There are only long weekends where you are the entertainment and the companionship and you just wonder how long you both can endure it.

For the wife who watches her husband grieve in different ways, but grieve all the same. And he feels unreachable at times, as though you are operating on two different planets as you orbit the same problems.

For the mother who shoulders the weight of an elephant, and the future of a child, while at the same time balancing a marriage, and a family within her arms.

Your heart will heal. I promise it will.

And then it will break once more.

It will break and heal and break and heal many, many times.

You are an autism mama.

You are me.

And I am you.

We are not alone.

Written by, Carrie Cariello

Carrie Cariello is the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children. 

Carrie is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, the TODAY Show, Parents.com. She has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, and also has a TEDx talk.

She speaks regularly about autism, marriage, and motherhood, and writes a weekly blog at www.carriecariello.com. One of her essays, “I Know What Causes Autism,” was featured as one of the Huffington Post’s best of 2015, and her piece, “I Know Why He Has Autism,” was named one of the top blog posts of 2017 by the TODAY Show.

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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, subscribe for exclusive videos, 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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