It felt like de ja vu. My son was ill and surely it was my fault. You see, I was a member of the AMA – and I don’t just mean a member of the American Medical Association; I was also a part of the Advanced Maternal Age club. I was concerned even before we got pregnant that I was putting our baby at risk.
Years later when he was diagnosed with Autism I felt immense mommy guilt. Had my advanced age contributed to the Autism? Could I have done more during the pregnancy? Forget the vaccine debate – was it that smoked salmon I ate in my second trimester?!? It took months – no, years for me to let go of the mommy guilt and shift my focus to learning as much as I could for him as well as for ourselves.
But, last fall, it seemed we were back in the same place. I felt like I was in a time warp when the dentist looked into my son’s mouth after three failed X-ray attempts and said “yes, there is a cavity, but his tooth is also infected. He’ll have to have surgery.” More surgery. More pain for my son. And more questions for me. Had we not brushed enough? Why did my son need crowns at his age? Should we have allowed him to have that candy? Those dang gummy vitamins?
Then the trio showed up in full force. You know, the “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” triplets. I should have known the self-stimulatory behaviors of holding his hand to his cheek was due to tooth pain. I could have taken him into his Pediatrician earlier if I suspected that his tantrums and tearfulness was due to an infected tooth. If I had known, I would have made the first dentist try harder to get the X-ray, to do the exam before sending him to a different dentist.
Once again, I had to shift my focus from my perceived inadequacies into action. My husband and I started with gathering as much information as possible about our son’s condition as well as how to prepare for upcoming surgery. We then assisted the dentist and Pediatrician in creating a plan of care based on our son’s other medical conditions. Finally, we started preparing our son, and teenage daughter, for the upcoming procedure in ways they could understand. This mean reading books and explaining the medical visits we would have along the way, ensuring that everyone got the treatment – and attention – they needed. Somehow this action drowned out the fear and the mommy guilt. I actually began to relax, and even smile, cavities or no cavities!
Time to Reflect:
Has there been a time that you have succumbed to mommy guilt, or daddy guilt? What did you do to get past it?
What are ways you can actively shift from staying in a place of guilt to taking action for yourself and your child?
Want to Learn More?
Be sure to visit the blog space for more of the journey and important lessons that could help you and your child.
Check out http://asd.littlemissdentist.com/ which gives a list of things to do to help kids on the spectrum with dental visits.
If you are interested in signing up for the Autism Alignment Movement, including the FREE interview series, head to https://bit.ly/autismstrategist
Learn more about Dr. Bergina at https://bit.ly/drberginahome.