Keep Going Mama

Kate 5

I think about you sometimes mama.

28 years old. You just had your first baby. You felt joyful. Exhausted. Your nipples hurt. Heck, it all hurt. But you didn’t mind. Because you had the most beautiful baby boy.

You named him Cooper months before he was born. You painted his nursery blue. You went to birthing classes and read What To Expect When You Are Expecting.

Your husband bought him a baseball glove and bat. And a Minnesota Wild jersey.

You were both so ready for him when he arrived.

I can see you going to the hospital. So excited. So scared.

I can see you holding him in your arms for the first time, both of you shocked a little bit by what had just happened. You kissed his head. You rubbed his back while exclaiming that his skin was the softest thing you had ever felt.

You fell in love instantly and all at once. You were a goner. So was your husband.

You knew then. You knew from the second you held him in your arms that something was different about your baby. You will later tell people you saw it in his eyes. But it was more than that. You just knew in your heart. But no one will believe you. Not for many years.

Autism won’t be said out loud for years to come. I call it the in-between space. It’s a hard place to live. The knowing and yet, no knowing. You will make it through. I promise.

I wish I could have told you then that autism was coming. Maybe prepared you a bit for the hurricane that would consume you.

The fight. The worry. The fear. The joy. The love. The everything. But also that your son was and is exactly who he is supposed to be.

Autism wasn’t given to him by a doctor, Kate. Cooper is exactly who he is supposed to be.

Smart. Funny. Challenging. Worthy. And more. Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt that.

He’s not like the rest. Not our boy. There is no one else on this earth like him. So don’t try to force it. Don’t force him to conform. Let him guide you.

Throw out the child raising books. Write your own. One that will become the guide for other parents.

Always remember that he deserves every single opportunity. He deserves the same as everyone else.

And lastly…know that you are enough. You are enough for him. But you need to get stronger. You need to learn to fight like hell. And be relentless. Not fearless. But brave.

You can do it mama. Know that. You can do it. And you will. Even when you feel like giving up…you won’t. It’s a walk you have to take mostly alone. But soon you will realize that you and Cooper are paving the way for others.

He is worth it Kate. Kids like him are worth it. And you two will prove that to the world.

Keep going.

And spoiler alert. It turns out. It all turns out. You just have to keep going.

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. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding.



Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

Share this post:

1 Comment

  1. Omer El-Hamdoon on July 3, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    That’ a beautiful poetic account.

    I think most – if not all – parents would have wished that they were prepared for having an autistic child.
    The plus point, is that there are many useful websites and local resources to help, like this one.

    Well done. Keep it up.

Leave a Comment

Here you can add a bit of text inviting readers to subscribe!