We are sitting in the conference room at work – and we are discussing a case study of a unsuccessful launch
We are doing a "post mortem" on why things did not work out and going through all the decisions that were made on the case.
Then we are looking at the choices made and then thinking about all the reasons why those decisions were the wrong one.
As we go over each decision – it occurs to me that all the decisions were the best choices at the time.
I say to my coworkers
"All these decisions seem like wrong ones just because we know the answer.. Things did not work out the way we expected. But if they had worked out the way we expected. We would be patting ourselves on the back and talking about all the reasons why these decisions were the right ones"
One of my colleagues nods his head and says "Sometimes things just don't work out the way they are meant to"
And there is a truth if I ever heard one
In the path to the day of finding out that your child has Autism and the years that follow after that, how deeply we examine all the choices we made on the road to Autism and the things we did post diagnosis to help our child.
Every new study that comes out resurfaces that guilt.
In the ASD mom community you will hear often things like. ( It's the same statements you hear over and over again)
"I really should have had them split out the MMR vaccine… what was I thinking? "
"What is the point of the Hep B at birth if the mother does not have Hep B?How I wish I had researched more"
"I really should have moved to a city with better services… I feel sick to my stomach whenever I hear about how much Early Intervention she would have got, had we lived in California"
"Its those darned ear infections .. why did I put him in daycare? .. after all the nanny horror stories , I never wanted to get a nanny , but see what happened instead "
"OMG I had no idea I was giving my kid mercury through my breast milk"
" I really need to do more with my child.. Look at what Catherine Maurice did"
"Should have started speech therapy earlier.. I feel nauseous now when I see how bad his Apraxia really is"
"Its those darned Baby Einstein DVD's… I am so ashamed now when I think of how I would press the replay button"
"I really should have done more( or less ) DAN/ABA/Floortime/RDI/ABA … maybe my son would be so much further along had he benefitted( not been harmed by) these"
This week I also read on Hopeful parents –a quote from Vicki Forman ( fabulous mom and fabulous writer )
"[A mother] believes that if she simply pays attention long and hard enough, she can prevent anything from happening."
And there it is
A fundamental belief that moms have
That is fundamentally wrong.
The reason why we feel so guilty
The truth is we are imperfect people (like everybody else) and we made the best decisions we could make at the time we made them.
These decisions feel like wrong decisions because the outcome was different than what was expected.
We don't know that the outcome would be any different if we could go back in time and make a different choice
A second truth is that we never give ourselves credit for all the right choices (and if we look back honestly there are plenty of those) we made.
It's as though the only thing worth focusing on are the things that we did that some research study says caused/did not prevent Autism ( and then another research study quickly repudiates )
And the final truth is that we have no reason to feel guilty
It's a lesson that I learn and relearn all the time