Beliefnet

Parents of autistic children go through such guilt issues. What's the way to get over that?

Warrior Mother Deals with Guilt
That’s such a big problem. When Evan was diagnosed, I immediately went into warrior mode. I cried and stuff, but I went into this, "Okay, I can't deal with my emotions right now. I have to save my kid. I have to move forward." I put the guilt in a little secret container way deep inside me. And I went along, and it got me through a long time, because I got my kid better. I got into a relationship. I fell in love. I wrote a book. And just as I was about to start this press tour, I started having full-blown panic attacks.

I called my therapist and said, "I haven't seen you in two-and-a-half years, and I need to know why I'm having anxiety attacks, like full-blown heart palpitations." And she said something that made me think, "Whoa." She said, "You still feel guilty for giving your son autism."

And that's where my guilt was coming from. I fell to the floor, because all along I kept going, "Oh, you know, it's these pediatricians, the government, the vaccines, blah, blah, blah." And really, underneath all of that anger, it's the little mom that went, "I feel responsible. I'm sorry, Evan." I felt guilty, and I had to let it out.

How do you come through moments of despair?

I give myself a break, because it's so overwhelming, so exhausting and trying, and no one gives you a pat on the back. I have to step away sometimes. I say, "I don't want to hear about the autism, diet, detox, therapy." Those are the times where I took a vacation with my girlfriends, or I just stopped for a little bit just because I had to recharge my battery and know that it was okay to not be supermom. And then I'd come back around and go, "Okay, Mom's back."

Would you give that advice to other parents, especially with kids with autism, to deal with the low moments?

Stepping Away from Autism
Yes. You need time to step away from autism, because your life becomes consumed with it. Especially if you can't afford babysitters, and no one knows how to watch your kid. Call on family. I owe my sisters so many favors because I didn't really have money then. When I got divorced I had to give [my ex-husband John Asher] everything.

So I begged and begged for babysitters myself. Because you just need that time away. It's so hard. I would tell everyone to make it a priority. Get that rest.

Autism is becoming much more prominently covered by the media. Do you think that people have realized that it's an epidemic? Is enough being done?

How to Fight Autism
Hell, no. How is that? Here's my laundry list [of what needs to be done]. We need to start with cleaning up the vaccines, the ingredients. Number two, a safer vaccine schedule. Number three--someone needs to do start doing tests on these babies being born to see if their immune system is strong enough to handle the vaccines. We also to test if these kids have any toxins or infections that could be in the environment that's not allowing their immune system to fight these vaccines.

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