Was It Something I Said or Did? 18

AloeThis normally positive mom is feeling a little prickly today like the outside of this aloe plant.  There are several reasons for this.  The first is I made the mistake of watching Dr. Oz’s show on autism.  I know better than to watch some shows just like I know better than to participate in some discussions. 

I am not on the autism spectrum by any diagnostic criteria or by any of the quizzes for autism or Asperger’s, but I have my own quirks.  My husband and I often discuss the fact that both of us are quirky so we shouldn’t be surprised that our children are although only our daughter is on the spectrum.  Still it may come as a surprise for those parents that are on the spectrum that those of us who aren’t still question ourselves constantly. 

Dr. Oz’s show brought up once again that the advanced age of parents increases the risk of autism.  This is not a big surprise although when I was pregnant I did not worry as much about my age.  Both my mother and my maternal grandmother had children when they were over forty without problems.  I am one of those children so I just assumed my children would be okay too. 

However, one of the doctors on Dr. Oz’s show said that the increased risk is thirty percent for children born to mother’s over thirty-five and the increased risk is twenty percent for older fathers.  My husband and I were both over thirty-five when both of our children were born.  Then another researcher said that children born to parents living within a quarter of a mile of a freeway also have an increased risk of autism and yes, my house is within that distance to the freeway.  The eternal question; did I cause my child’s autism?

I really do not want to buy into the woo as my fellow blogger, Kim, who writes the blog Countering calls it.  I cannot go back regardless and really I do not want to go back.  The reality is overall both of my children are doing well.  Plus, my son was born three years after my daughter so the age thing really does not fit.  

This brings up the other issue that breaks my heart.  Recently, I finished fellow blogger, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s book, The Uncharted Path: My Journey With Late-Diagnosed Autism.  I recommend those who have not read it do; however, this is not a review. 

Her story caused me to look back on all the mistakes we made before we had the correct diagnosis.  Our daughter still has not completely forgiven her dad although I know in my heart our story is different from Rachel’s.  I just want them to have the type of relationship my dad and I had.  Thus, the second reason for the woo! 

Also, I cannot help but notice some of you have not commented on my blogs in ages.  Have I done something or said something wrong?  Reading “Are You Well-versed in Comment Etiquette” by Word Press brought up this question.  See again the doubts so common with my Aspie friends.  I know from reading your blogs that you all have your problems too, and I am hoping that is the only reason. 

I know I am very fortunate compared to so many others in the world. I am grateful for my husband and both of my children.  I just need to learn to turn the television off when they talk about causes of autism and the importance of early intervention another reason for my woo.


  1. Sorry you’ve been feeling such stress lately. Whether it’s about autism or something else, I find I really can’t afford to spend much time on extras that stress me out – I just don’t have enough time and energy to be able to afford wasting what I do have. We’re all doing the best we can and need to stop judging ourselves – there are plenty of other people who would be happy to do that for us.

    • Diane,
      Yes, I learned my lesson once again about avoiding unnecessary stress. You made me smile with your comment about other people being happy to judge us. Amen to that!

  2. Hi Sue 🙂

    I agree with bbsmum on the “off switch” thing. I try not to watch too many things on tv about autism because for me they raise more questions than they actually answer. I now try to just accept what is 🙂

    And I also agree with Laura on the time management thing 🙂

    I also read all your posts when I get the email notification come through but because I am always out and about, I often read them on my iphone and think “I’ll comment when I get home” because I’m usually time short at the moment I’m reading it and it’s hard for me to write on that small keypad.
    Then later when I actually find time – I get busy and forget!

    I’ve been doing that a lot lately to a lot of bloggers I’m afraid.
    I am trying to get in the habit of marking them “unread” so that I can comment when I open them on the iPad later.

    ugh! Sorry you felt hurt my my negligence!

    • Fi,
      You have had your own problems of late and believe me I understand. You do not owe me any apology. Plus, I have been sure that I commented sometimes on other blogs only to go back and realize I didn’t.

      I think we all have those weeks were we just question ourselves. Yesterday was my day although it had been building when I read Rachel’s book. I loved how she explained things, but realizing how much her parents hurt her made me cry. My daughter has never been treated the way Rachel was, but like you I always worry about whether or not she will blame us when she is an adult for things we did not understand at the time. Our family had just started to heal from everything when the bullying happened and caused a major set back. She and I get along well now, but it would be nice if she were also close to her dad.

  3. When something about autism comes on TV I often watch with my finger poised on the ‘off’ switch. Life’s too short to watch things that’ll wind me up!

  4. I wish I can say(write) something here that will comfort you on your personal issues, especially with regards to your family’s struggle to autism. I know it is hard, and I have nothing but great hopes for greater strength for you and your family. Please stay strong.
    As for commenting, based on my own observation, post contents that are more personal, more insightful and have a cause, do not gather as much comments as those post with contents about fashion, or other contents of less personal nature. I suggest you find a community of bloggers of the same interests and cause as yours. Maybe, just maybe, you will get better audience.
    I have been blogging for years now, and I still don’t get as much comments as I want to, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I blog for fun, I blog for myself. Comments or no comments I will continue to blog.
    You have great contents and there is nothing wrong with you. I hope you’ll continue to blog and voice out your views.

    • Charlotte,
      Thank you! I love your blog so I don’t know why others wouldn’t. I am so glad to hear you will keep blogging no matter what and yes I will too.

      Yesterday was particularly hard because Dr. Oz’s show hit a nerve. My daughter was not diagnosed until she was ten, yet so many red flags were missed from the time she was a baby and knowing what I know today, she should have been diagnosed sooner. Thankfully, we did do some things right unknowingly and overall she is doing well now as I said. She and my husband are civil to each other, but I wish they were closer. I blame myself for not seeing some things sooner and helping with this. We really did listen to bad advice.

      • I associate TV and TV shows with entertainment not facts. Shows like Dr.Oz’s although it has the good intention to dissimenate medical facts, I’m sure, more often than not have tweaked a few of their facts for entertainment value, controversy and for viewership – to hit a nerve! Heck! Even the news these days are sensationalized by reputable news-sources for viewership. So I don’t necessarily believe everything I see on TV without collaborating on other media sources.

        So basically, I suggest, just like most of the suggestions here, that when you are watching TV and you are not entertained, change the channel, or better yet turn it off.

  5. Off topic, but I wanted to share this link with you in case you haven’t seen it:
    Bullying and Special Needs. I haven’t had time to read the PDF yet, but I plan to and will likely forward it to my school.

    Re the commenting, I would try not to take it personally. I have learned through other blogging projects that comments can definitely be an up and down thing and that there are just so many reasons people don’t comment.

    One of the best ways to get more comments is to comment on other blogs. There are also lots of ideas of how to write posts that are more likely to get comments on blogs like Problogger (see his 31 Days to a Better Blog).

    You are an inspiration and I’m glad you are stepping out. Your voice is valuable and worth hearing!

    • I hadn’t seen the link, so thank you for sharing this. I briefly looked at it this morning and I love it. 🙂

      Thank you for your kind comments and suggestions. I do try to comment on other blogs; however, when I make it to a blog that already has ten or more comments saying what I want to say I sometimes don’t add mine. I know we are all too busy managing our lives and juggling real life schedules so I do understand when others don’t comment for a while. It is when the comments go down to none that I get worried that I have somehow offended others. I hope if I ever do or say anything offensive someone will send me an e-mail so I can explain and correct it.

  6. So sorry, I’ve been neglectful. I read your posts always in my email, but don’t often comment. I’ve been having time management issues lately, but that’s not an excuse. Your blog is great, and you’ve been posting really insightful stuff. I’m sorry you’re hurting.

    As for the bullshit about the freeways and maternal age….my mom was 20 when she had me, I was 29 with Coleman and 34 with Julia. And we’ve never lived w/ in 1/4 mile of a freeway. Sue, they don’t know. And lately, to me it feels like they’re grasping at straws. They’re not asking the right questions. They’re not asking the right people. And people like Dr. Oz are only having shows like this because the word Autism brings increased viewers. (((hugs)))

    • Thank you and I understand about time management issues. I agree they don’t know and in my heart I believe it is genetic in our case, but it is still hard not to go there. That is why I usually don’t watch. I watched today because someone told hubby about it and he called to tell me to turn on the T.V. Big Mistake!

  7. I know what you mean about being quirky. That applies to me and my husband, and we were both over 35 when my daughter was born. I’m not concerned about causes. I don’t think they know enough about autism to find a cause in most cases. But I too sometimes get sucked into a discussion or tv show.

    Don’t feel bad about a lack of comments. I know I haven’t been reading blogs or commenting as much the past few weeks. Spare time comes in waves for most people.

  8. I think as mothers and women our first instinct is to accept blame even when it is not ours to shoulder. The truth is above all is that as mothers we do the best we can and if we did not have the experience in our lives then it is hard to pin point and focus on the true nature of a difference we do not share with our children.
    My mother and I never had a good relationship. When I got older I realized an understanding of our non bonding relationship. I was tubular pregnancy and as she was getting in the car to the hospital to have me aborted when I dropped into the tube and they did not perform the procedure. I’m sure she went through the pregnancy with a guarded heart unwilling to be attached to a baby that may be deformed or miscarriage later in the pregnancy since it started out wrong. She had a miserable
    pregnancy and lost her hearing in one ear over Tinnitus. I was a month late and had to be started and the whole delivery experience was horrible. To make things worse I was a great baby and slept all night and my older sister was very nervous and dependent. I was independent so she did not feel needed by me.
    I also later realized she had hormone problems.
    The reason why I’m telling you all this is that at a certain age a child realizes that the parent is human too and not perfect and there are reasons why they behaved in the way they did so they start fresh and develop a new relationship understanding this.
    As far as people not visiting your blog and commenting? That has happened to me too and you just never know what has come into their life to distract them from being faithful.
    Your a great person and a great writer so don’t take it personally as it is not your fault. Keep blogging and spreading the word!

    • Grace,
      Thank you and thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate you and I am so glad you came into my life. I just wish I could fix things now instead of having to wait.

      My own mother and brother had an experience much like yours. My parents’ first child died when he was thirteen months old from pneumonia. It was one month before my oldest living brother was born. Years later she admitted that she had not wanted to have two babies so close together. She blamed herself when her first died and she could not look at my brother when he was born. My dad took care of him when he was a newborn. Mom did recover, but later when my brother was a toddler she saw him playing with a picture of the baby who had died. My mom put all of his pictures away after that and until we were all grown she could not talk about the baby who died without crying. My brother does understand as an adult and we were all at her side in the end.

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