Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mommy Guilt

One of the many things I didn’t know about before I had children was mommy guilt. Sure, I could have assumed that there would be times I would feel guilty for this or that, but in no way shape or form was I prepared for how strong and far reaching mommy guilt is. I can’t tell you the countless ways and reasons I have felt it...daily. Most recently, though, it’s been in the form of the twin’s speech issues. I already feel responsible in some way shape or form for their issues, what mommy hasn’t had those thoughts fly through her head and sometimes, like in my case, land for an extended layover? I know the reality is probably different, but again, mommy guilt is real people and I am here to say, it messes with you.

At the twins occupational therapy appointment yesterday, their therapist said something to me that made me cry. She didn’t mean to. It was not her intent and she spent a good deal of time making sure I knew she didn’t have any hidden meaning in her words. But she said that she felt that the twins plagiocephaly, which still exists but is just not as pronounced as it once was (and the reason for her entering our life when twins were five months old), is what is causing their speech delays. Of course she is of the holistic 'body being in-line and everything flowing properly' theory of thought (she does Craniosacral therapy on the boys), which I don’t disregard as I have seen it work. Therefore it would make sense that she said that. However I jumped to the "they were on their back too much, I should have held them more, moved them back and forth more, etc, etc, etc. = it's all my fault". The truth is, they didn’t come out perfect because they were sharing cramped quarters in a space built for one for nine months (not that I can't find a reason to feel guilty about that too). And though some of it happened after birth, it still wasn’t my fault, though in my head I take the blame.

As I have mentioned, in addition to Collin's Apraxia, Oliver's receptive language is not up to par and we are not sure why. Some things that were thrown out at me this week were auditory processing disorder and any number of Autism Spectrum Disorders, like Asperger's (because of the fact that he knew his letters and their sounds before he was two years old, mixed with this other issue) for one. WHAM! SLAP! BAM! Then mommy guilt. Just so you know, we are starting with auditory processing disorder and getting a screening soon (waiting on the referral). Asperger's you can't diagnose at the age of two, they have to be older... and I am going with he doesn't have that or any other ASD. Are you with me? More to come on the outcomes of the screening at a later date.

So today I was reading a blog that I follow, Crunchy Chicken, that was talking about Autism (she has a son with Autism). It caught my eye since the word was thrown at me this week (though ASDs are not the same as full blown Autism). As it turns out some early thoughts on the disorder (probably full blown version and also what we now know as the ASDs), which still has no known cause or cure, were that it was all the mother's fault. Say what?! It was referred to as the "refrigerator mother" hypothesis by Leo Kanner in 1943. He even was noted as saying "just happening to defrost enough to produce a child." Oh no he didnt! Bruno Bettleheim then gave it widespread popularity and his articles, written during the 1950s and 1960s, popularized the idea that autism was caused by maternal coldness toward their children. Are you fricking kidding me??! Both he and Kanner seemed to ignore the fact that these same mothers had other children who were not autistic. She goes on to say that there are still some places in Europe that support this and it is more widely believed in South Korea as the true cause. WTH?

After reading this, I have to say thank you to Mr. Kanner and Mr. Bettleheim. Because of you two idiots, I, for one afternoon today, gave myself a break from mommy guilt because honestly that is the dumbest thing I have ever read. I mean really gentlemen, of all the ludicrous dumb a$$ theories, that was the best you could come up with? As if we don't have mommy guilt that appears to be innate to our core being, why not blame an entire horrible disorder on us too? And really American people of the 1940's through 1960's - you honestly believed and supported this horse crap? Wow. W.O.W.

You know, I think I'll take the night off too. The mothers of the 1940's-1960's (and beyond) probably had enough guilt going on to cover me for the night as well.


Tricia said...

You need to let the mommy guilt are a WONDERFUL, LOVING, GIVING Mom.....breathe in.....let it out....Let it go.
Love you..

Gotfam said...

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! No more mommy guilt for you! You're an amazing mommy...seriously...i want to be your kid! Your children are beautiful, happy and loving life...and loving you! Everything else will fall into place (feel free to use that statement on me next time i am freaking out about a mommy/child issue!). xo - CG

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