Our daughter is 3 years old and was just recently diagnosed with autism.

This came with so many emotions, but the one I felt the most was peace. Finally, we knew. We were finally out of the unknown and we could move forward! It’s like I had a backpack on, and someone took out a bunch of rocks. I felt free. It was empowering. But, the road before her diagnosis was dark.

When you know something is wrong and you can’t fix it, as a parent it’s debilitating. It makes you feel so lifeless and weak because you can’t figure out what’s wrong. And doctors are great too, but they can only recommend so many things, cross off their lists, and ultimately, it’s not their child. It’s yours.

I felt so alone. I felt like no one in the whole entire world had ever gone through this. I had an aching in my heart for my daughter, Opal. I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know how.

That unknown area is the hardest. I was stay at home mom and it felt like it was my fault that my child wasn’t on the same level as all her peers. It was hard to celebrate other children’s victories when my child couldn’t relate. And the questions. Everyone asks why your child isn’t talking or if they know the alphabet or their colors, when I’m struggling to even get my child to eat food with some kind of nutritional value.

If you’re on that middle road right now, I want to encourage you. It’s not your fault. You are an amazing parent. Your child is amazing. You are not alone.

My heart goes out to you. I know how you’re feeling. I know the pain. I know the heartbreak. It’s one of the worst feelings ever. But, hang in there. You may feel like you want to raise your white flag and escape it all, but you have a child who needs you. You don’t have to pretend you’re strong or put on a brave face, but you do have to keep moving forward. Cry, let out your emotions, don’t bottle them up. But once you’re through, hike up your momma leggings, and fix that cape. You can do this. I’m rooting for you!