Today’s guest blogger, Lisa Ann Pitts, tackles the “Mommy Wars” autism-style with her amazing wit, humor, and spunk. We moms all need to support each other, and this goes doubly for autism moms. Our challenges are too great to waste time judging the choices of others. I am so thankful for the support of ALL my mommy friends (like Lisa Ann!) who are the most amazing women I know!
When I became a mother, I had no idea about a lot of things. I read every baby book I could get my hands on and not one mentioned the unsolicited judgment of other mothers. Surely we all walk into this journey of motherhood with a secret alliance? Right?
I couldn’t help but refer to my own childhood and my perception of the “Mother’s Alliance.” I mean, honestly if I was cuttin’ up down the street and I got busted by a friend’s mother, my fate was pretty much the same as at home, and if nothing else, she was gonna waste no time at all letting my mother know. That’s sisterhood right there. I was in!!! I would now be one of them. Also noteworthy here is my love of women and my relationships with them. They’re sacred and practically holy and I can’t imagine my life without them. And I know that when we are supporting one another, there is nothing we can’t do. Nothing. This is why the phenomenon of “Mommy Wars” continues to perplex me.
My first lesson on mothers judging mothers was the Working Moms versus the Stay At Home Moms. I have to admit, I didn’t really get it. I made my choice and I was running with it like a mad nursing woman. Oh that’s a whole other “judge-fest.” – Nursing Moms versus Bottle Moms. I made my choice there too and nature was kind enough to support me, but not all my friends could nurse, so I say, “Shut your piehole on that, because you never know.” Don’t even get me going on the ongoing judgment cast upon those in the Autism world. I won’t even give you the short list, but know that autism is never EVER just about proper discipline and you should know better by now.
Autism moms have wars too! Yeah, they do. There are some that “celebrate” autism and those of us who, for lack of kinder words and the desire to use them, well… we want to beat autism with a bat, a really big gnarly bat. We fight it every day and in every way. I love my son more than life and his light shines all the time. I will always embrace all of him and his accomplishments, but I will continue to fight anything and everything that hinders him from being his whole complete self. So when I see an autism meme that says “The cure for Autism is unconditional love” I kinda feel homicidal. I love my son unconditionally, but all the love in the world can’t stop his seizures, so No!! I strongly disagree.
Maybe these moms feel like, “Hey! I can’t beat this thing (Autism) so let’s embrace it as much as we can.” Sorry, I just can’t take that approach. You have to do what you have to do, but why should what I do make you mad enough to counter with the message that I just don’t love my child enough. I’m not making you fight autism – you can love it all day. Could you respect my choice too? Does it have to be ‘your way or the highway’ for us to share space? And hey, if you found the right medicine and it’s working for your child then… GREAT!! That doesn’t mean it would for mine. I’ve had other Autism Moms say “Let me guess, you’ve got your kid on that gluten and dairy free diet, don’t you? Well, we tried it and it did nothing, so I don’t see the point in all that.” You don’t have to discount what I do to justify your choices. All of our children are amazingly different.
Here is a short list of autism troops and their counters:
- Celebrators (The cure for Autism is unconditional love) VS. Fighters (Autism is treatable, recovery is possible)
- Those who vaccinate VS. those who don’t (That’s all I’m saying here)
- Those who take a Biomedical approach to treatment (diet and addressing underlying issues along with therapies) VS. those who Traditional approach (traditional therapies and medication like Risperdal)
- Those who choose a Mainstreamed school environment VS. tho+se who prefer a Contained classroom or school
Where you lie on those fences might determine where you’re accepted and who may judge you. I won’t defend my position on those topics here, because hey, let’s just be perfectly clear, I have to do that all the time. I wish I didn’t. I wish that when you asked me those questions, you weren’t poised to attack my choices or defend your own. I wish you asked because you want insight, or maybe to learn or share. I am always reminded of the strength of women and I am inspired by them daily. We have a lot to offer each other when get out of defense mode.
As an autism mom, I have reached out to every support group and every organization that supports families with Autism/special needs, because I could use all the help available. All I really need here is for us to have one thing in common – that we have a child we love deeply who has autism. I found my people along the way and they hold me up and they hold me high. You can do it your way and I’ll respect that choice whether I agree with it or not. It would be really nice if you could return the favor. Pretty please and thank you.
Lisa Ann Pitts is the proud mother of two, autism warrior, the Richmond, Virginia chapter leader for Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), and owner of The Locker Room Bar & Restaurant. She is a contributing writer for RichmondMom.com and Autisable. She is also a lover of all things 80’s and social media.