Before I was a parent, I had no concept of how challenging a role it would be. Beyond the late nights, diaper changes and developmental milestones, beneath the everyday work, there are the emotional challenges, the things we could never predict. We’re thrown things we’d never dream we could get through. But here we are. Tilley Creary is a talented writer, and a wonderful mother. She’s decided to share her story of her son’s Autism to help others know they’re not alone.
To me, this story represents all that is beautiful about the love for our children. We don’t know what lies ahead, but within us all lies the strength to deal with whatever comes our way.
The bravest, scariest, most intimidating thing I’ve ever done is be a mother to my Autistic son. My life was forever changed when autism unexpectedly came into my life. Those two pink lines showed up before we were sure we were even trying.
My first pregnancy was so hard to achieve and maintain, I just assumed that our next child would be the same. But before we could really start trying, he was just there, in our lives. And as he got older we realized he was different, that he had some challenges. It has taken all of me to help him navigate his Autistic world, and we’re still only at the beginning. He just turned five, and we have a whole lifetime of what ifs and will hes ahead of us.
I don’t know if I have enough bravery in me to handle all that is coming our way, but I’ll be doing my best to make sure he has the best life I can give him.
Before I realized my second son was on the spectrum, I knew for sure that getting, staying, being pregnant and giving birth were the hardest things I had ever done in my life. But I knew nothing. This is harder. My heart breaks and bleeds for him every. single. day. Some days are good, some days are bad. I have to be brave for him, even on the worst days, just so we can get to the days that are great.
There is a tremendous amount of fear and guilt combined with thankfulness that I feel about my son’s Autism. I’m fearful of what his future holds, since he’s only just turned five. I fear that maybe we still don’t know the full extent of how his Autism will continue to manifest itself as he gets older.
Will he continue to mature? Will he ever really learn to have a conversation? Will he ever do well in school? Will he grow up ok? Every day I have to push these fears way down so they don’t weigh me down.
On the other hand, I’m thankful that otherwise, he is a perfectly healthy kid. He’s loving, friendly, joyful and happy. I’m also constantly afraid that I’m not doing enough to help him, or that what I’m doing to help him may be making things worse.
I’m so thankful that I have him in my life, but the guilt that something I did or didn’t do caused this to happen to him. Even though we’ll probably never know why he has Autism, I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to be brave enough to find out the “why” so that I can know how to help him as much as possible.
All of this just simmers under the surface of my every waking thought every single day. But I’m sure you wouldn’t know it to look at me. I guess I always have my brave face on.
I love him more than life itself and I will do anything for him; even be brave, when I don’t think I can.
The #ShowMeYourBrave Project asks people, “What’s the bravest, scariest, or most intimidating thing you’ve ever done?”. The idea of the project is to share stories of everyday bravery and human resilience to bring us closer together. In sharing, we not only find our voices, but we find support, allies, and others who have faced similar challenges. If you would like to submit your story, we would love to feature your bravery here.