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It's my fault

With the grief that accompanied the realization Hannah was not going to be who I imagined came the guilt. The guilt that I was grieving to begin with because I didn't feel I had that right since she was very much alive. The guilt that I must have done something wrong when I was pregnant to make her this way. The guilt that I wasn't a good enough mother; I wasn't patient enough, I couldn't calm her down, I didn't anticipate her meltdowns and prevent them before they happened. And on and on and on. It's exhausting when I think about it. I was consumed with worry, grief, and guilt. The guilt that I must have done something wrong was like a black cloud constantly hanging over my head. I was solely responsible for taking care of and nurturing this little girl from conception until birth so it must be my fault that she has these struggles, right? I ate well, didn't drink alcohol, didn't smoke, even drank bottled water because I was concerned about the tap water. I stayed active, got plenty of sleep, and took prenatal vitamins. I did everything I could to ensure my baby would be healthy. What happened? I asked myself this so many times. I looked at other moms that I perceived didn't take the precautions I did yet had healthy babies. Why? What did I do wrong? The answer is absolutely nothing! I looked at the evidence in front of me and realized that I did everything I could to ensure Hannah would be healthy so blaming myself was not serving me. I recognized that I tried my best so I had to let go of the blame and guilt. To be honest, it didn't matter why this happened because I had a child in front of me that needed my help. Carrying the guilt wasn't helping either of us so I let it go. It was a conscious decision on my part. This was the beginning of my personal transformation because I thought maybe she was meant to be this way. Maybe we were both meant to learn from each other. Maybe nothing had gone wrong at all. The seed that was planted at that time has grown, over 23 years, into a beautiful transformation of my spirit.

I invite anyone struggling with guilt or blame because of what your child has to deal with to shift your perspective. Think about what your child is learning because of the struggles instead of how tough it is. Where is the beauty in what your child is going through? It's tough to recognize when you are in the thick of things but it's important to notice and be grateful. Hannah looks at objects from different angles and notices things I never do. When she was little she loved to look at the wheels on a chair we had in the dining room as it moved and would look at the underside from different directions and smile. It intrigued her. When I viewed the chair from her perspective I noticed light shining off it in a way that was really cool. She noticed this; I never did. I was thankful for that perspective. Sometimes it's easier to see the struggles because they catch our attention. I invite you to find something your child does that's wonderful and different from other children and be grateful for it. I don't see neurotypical children looking at chairs the way Hannah does so I'm grateful for her disability because it gives her this perspective and makes her smile. In truth, maybe she doesn't see her struggles as a disability at all but as her superpower. Who am I to make this judgement? Hannah is who she is and I'm grateful for her every day; even on the tough days! This is her path and these are her lessons to learn. I am here to help her navigate this life and learn my own lessons. Each day I find some nugget to be grateful for because it helps ground me and keep me present. I encourage you to try it; especially on the toughest of days.

I'll catch you all tomorrow. Always remember you've got this and you are not alone.

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