Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Becoming a Born Again Parent

I have been giving a lot of thought to why AoA pisses me off as much as they do. I read an article, or one of the sycophant's comments, and my blood pressure rises, my face feels flushed, and I feel my heart pounding. I keep asking myself why?

A few days ago I read an article about healing. Iwish I could recall where, and post a link. Unfortunately, no matter how I rack my brain, nothing happens. Still cannot recall.

However, shortly after reading that article, it struck me why AoA so pisses me off. Those creeps are actually preventing healing of those parents who react most strongly to having a child with Autism (read that as any disability).

When my oldest son was five, we had his little brother. In the space of a few short weeks, we learned that my oldest has Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. We also learned that my youngest has cerebral palsy. We were devastated. We want to lash out and blame everyone and anyone. Did the OB do everything correctly? What mistakes were made? and so on and so forth.

Week after week, all we did was to discuss how angry we were, without ever mentioning that we were angry. We were hurting beyond belief. Two lifetimes of diability.

This went on for around a year. It was consuming all of our time, and thought. We spoke of nothing else. Our friends left us, because we discussed nothing else. Our anger became our reason for living.

Our oldest son completed his first year in school and seemed happy. Our youngest was in an early intervention pre-school program. Both made strides in dealing with their uniqueness. Slow, but steady.

This went on for over two years. One day we met an old friend, one we had not seen for a long time. He had lost his oldest son, a year before, who was the same age as our oldest. He appeared to be happy, though.

We began talking, and talking, and talking. He, too, wanted to blame someone for his tragic loss. He went to lawyers, doctors, and just about anyone who would listen, to discuss the death of his son.

Finally, he came to realize that no matter what he did, it would not bring his son back. His son was gone. Period. He was devastated but, moved on. He had other children, and they needed him. They all seemed rather happy and content. We were still angry and could not figure him out. Why was he not angry?

One day my older son comes to me and asks why we are spending so much time trying to "fix" him. He says that he is not broken, just different. He was angry that we took him to so many doctors, tried so many "treatments" and never seemed to be happy with him the way he was.

Although I assured him that I did not feel that he was broken, he made me start thinking. The following week, we decided to try something and we skipped his supplements, and there was no change in his behaviors. He still needed constant refocusing.

Gradually, over time, we stopped all the treatment, except for his medications, which even he agreed he needed. He had gone to school one day without them, and told me that he never wanted that to happen again.

Our younger son was also making progress. He was sitting up, using a cup with a straw, and was finger feeding. He seemed happy, and enjoyed physical and occupational therapy (we had great therapists). He liked his early intervention program, and was making friends.

We began to see the positives in both children. We began to see them as two kids with more opportunites for them to show us how much progress they are making. We began to take delight in their progress.

We stopped trying to find blame. We stopped using the boys as laboratory test subjects. We stopped being angry.

And, we were born again parents. Parenting was a joy. Hard work, but still a joy.


Now, why AoA makes me so angry....

AoA stokes the anger in parents to prevent them from moving on as we did. AoA NEEDS parents to look at themselves as victims. Without the victim mentality, AoA and their ilk would have no audience. None.

To think that this does not affect the children is just abhorent to me. My son, at his age, proved otherwise. What motivated me was the fact that he was comfortable enough with us to express his feelings. When a kid is treated like a lab rat, having useless treatments, running from this diet to the next, it eventually takes it toll on the child.

And, we moved on, and NEVER, ever, looked back.


  1. Wow, this paragraph is so powerful... I didn't have the strength to ask my parents this until well after I'd left home... good on you (and on your son)

    One day my older son comes to me and asks why we are spending so much time trying to "fix" him. He says that he is not broken, just different. He was angry that we took him to so many doctors, tried so many "treatments" and never seemed to be happy with him the way he was.

  2. Well written. And so true. You have to get past cause and blame, or you will never get to acceptance and healing.

  3. That was beautifully written. I look at all of my kids-each unique, individual. They have all in their own way taught me so very much.

  4. I love your post. I'm glad you got past the anger and blame stage. Sometimes it takes awhile, and it's easy to understand how AoA reinforces the anger; likeminded people are getting together and reinforcing their beliefs that they have been victimized by doctors and vaccines; they feed on each other's posts and ultimately end up with more extreme points of view than when they entered.

    Our efforts over at Huff provide counterpoint to this extremism and is incredibly important. By not allowing only their point of view to be offered, we slow that tendency to outlying positions, and maybe in some individuals we can even sway them to a more reasoned perspective.

    Here's to working in solidarity; to finding the gifts in our children, as well as the gifts in living lives the none of us were planning or expecting. Here's to making our voices heard and in creating supportive networks where we are free to share the ups and the downs.


  5. Thanks, Kim. HuffPoop has become a cesspool of quackery and woo. Let me suggest that you visit Respectful Insolence and see Orac's comments.

  6. I love Orac! Well, okay, maybe not love, but admire, for sure. His posts are excellent. I emailed him the other day to ask him about the orthomolecular medicine that Ergon was spouting off about to get his take on it and ask him to please respond to Ergon. I got a nice response back that orthomolecular med was woo, like I thought it probably was. :-)

  7. I guess I was trying to convert the converted. I occasionally visit the HuffPoop cesspool, but never seem to get my comments published. Seems that my style, wherein I do not leave someone guessing about where I stand, irks them. I get censored a lot.

  8. I was revisiting your blog today; after a month of busy, feverish posting at Huff, I've learned it's a fine art to find the line of what will probably get posted, and that line is: makes no sense and apparently depends on who the moderator is. I'd say my fail rate overall was 20%. A bunch of us, including nostrum and Kathleen formed a group,, to work together to combat the woo. I hope you'll join us there. :-)