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My Mum told me DS's ASD is punishment from God

(34 Posts)
Dulida Sat 17-Nov-12 22:27:33

Hi everyone, I'm a long time lurker but I've never quite had the guts to post anything. However, a week ago my Mum made a comment that I can't stop thinking about and I need somewhere to rant. Hope you don't mind.

So here goes...

DH and I have a 4yo DS (recently dx with ASD) I had a nightmare pregnancy, spent pretty much the whole 9 months in bed, having epileptic fits on a daily basis. I was extremely ill. Anyway the actual labour wasn't much better but DH was brilliant and we got through it together. We eventually made the decision to have no more children (neurologist told me all future pregnancies would be the same) and DH had the snip. We have accepted this and are a very happy little family.

My Mum said this to me last week:
'Do you think DS's ASD is God's punishment for deciding not to have more children?'

DS was dx three weeks ago. It has all happened quite quickly and we are just getting our heads around things. Why would she say this? I feel guilty enough about this whole thing. For the record, she's not at all religious, she knows I am. A week later, I'm still crying over this stupid comment.

Thanks for reading if you've got this far, I don't really know what I expect anyone to say. I just feel better having written it all down. Thanks.

OwedToAutumn Sat 17-Nov-12 22:31:44

First of all, your son's ASD is not your fault. I know you feel guilty, but it's really not your fault.

It's a very weird thing to say. Did it come out of the blue, or was there a context?

coff33pot Sat 17-Nov-12 22:35:50

I am not religious for reasons similar to yours. A member of my family told me that because I was getting a divorce my child will suffer for my sins.

I believed it and spent 2 years blaming myself for any little thing that caused dd upset. Till I opened my eyes and realised what an evil bunch they were (these members not others in the christian community x)

I cannot print what I would want to say to your mother I am afraid. x

Hugs to you though and I would ignore it as its a pile of crock.

Ineedalife Sat 17-Nov-12 22:36:32

Hi dulida and welcome to the boardsmile

Your mum sounds a bit bonkers to me!

Does she often make bizzarre statements like this?

I am not a religious person but I wouldnt say something like that to my worst enemy, never mind my daughter. No wonder you are upset.

I have no advice for you but can guarantee that Autism is a neurological condition not a punishmenthmm

troutsprout Sat 17-Nov-12 22:37:43

Could she have meant ( knowing that you are religious) " I hope you aren't thinking that ds's asd is a punishment from god"
Coz i cant quite believe anyone would say something so hideous
Or does she have form?

marchduck Sat 17-Nov-12 22:47:15

Dulida, first of all hope you are ok, the recent dx must be hard enough take in, even if you were maybe expecting it.
Please do not feel guilty - as Owed says, your DS's ASD is not something you have had any control over at all.
Your Mums's comment must have been so hurtful. You said in your post that DS, DH and you are a very happy family - this is what to focus on. Forget everyone else for the moment and look after yourselves.
All the best to you all

Dulida Sat 17-Nov-12 23:31:19

Thanks for your replies, you've all made me cry again!

DH has helped me overcome the guilt to a certain extent, but I suppose there will always be the 'what ifs'

I do have a good relationship with my Mum in general, but she regularly makes comments that I have to question and I tend to take things she says with a pinch of salt, but this has really hit a nerve.

Trout - I don't think she meant it like that. When I told her that I really didn't think that was the case, she told me that she 'tends to see things like that' things were a bit awkward then so I changed the subject.

As for the context, I was telling her about a comment DH made about how if we had had a second child we probably would have had a 'normal' child (it was a genuine joke. We don't see ds as abnormal at all, we have joked in the past that he is a bit faulty. It is suspected that DH is HFA so he also feels 'faulty' and jokingly relates to DS like this) As I told my Mum about the 'normal child' comment, she came up with the God idea.

Thanks March - the official dx was made on my birthday as well so I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself! We are a happy family, and thankfully my Mum lives about 100 miles away so I don't see her very often. This just really hit a nerve for some reason.

thewhistler Sat 17-Nov-12 23:48:39

Op, to echo others, she's cuckoo.

I am religious too and would never see it like that.

You may go through a sense of turmoil as you try to work out the implications, but honestly, what she has said is rubbish. Your dc is a gift to you, from wherever, and you are a gift to your dc.

zzzzz Sun 18-Nov-12 00:13:39

How lucky you are to have Dh and son. I think God did make your son who he is, but I sincerely doubt it is anything to do with punishment. They sound like a safe nd true harbour from your DM.

Try not to let her interpretation of your life colour how you feel about it.

I have 2 children with sn, they have taught me things I didn't know I needed to learn. I thank God for them, they are not the booby prize, a punishment, or life ruining. They are mine.

Perhaps your Mother needs our compassion. What a strange and unpleasant world she lives in.

BeeMom Sun 18-Nov-12 01:10:23

Not to make this about me, but when Bee had her first stroke when she was 3 weeks old, I tried to rack my brain for what I could have done that was so horrid that she should suffer punishment for it.

When she was diagnosed with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, and we learned that not only did I have it too, but I gave it to both of my children, I fell into a pit of self blame and self-hatred.

I finally got my head around the knowledge that I NEVER would have become pregnant in the first place if I had the slightest idea that I could have done this to my children. Since then, I will be honest, it has NOT been smooth sailing - there is hefty self blame whenever we hit a hurdle, but I know that their illnesses (and mine) are not punishment. Neither is your DS's ASD.

In all reality, knowing that subsequent pregnancies could have been the same as your son's, and not knowing how the pregnancies would/could affect the child, you did what you felt was the most appropriate thing, and NO ONE has the right to second guess or judge you. I had a tubal ligation at the same time as Bee was born by c-section, and looking back, I would not change that decision.

There is a popular Christian show for children in the US that Bee has discovered and adores called Veggie Tales. When I am having a particularly bad day, she will echo a line from the show and tell me "God made you special, and He loves you very much"

You know what? She is right.

justaboutchilledout Sun 18-Nov-12 07:34:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog Sun 18-Nov-12 09:25:35

How hurtful.
You have received some very wise and thoughtful replies.
When you feel a little better, I'd suggest you write a letter to your mother explaining how much she has hurt you.

Dulida Sun 18-Nov-12 09:25:36

Thanks again for the replies.

Bee - it's hard not to shoulder some of the blame isn't it, even if we know it's irrational? I often wonder what I would feel guilty about if DS was NT! I hope things are getting better for you. I will have to remember that line from Veggie Tales, it's so appropriate. DS started school in September and goes to a Catholic school. Their prospectus specifically says that we are all God's children and SEN do not change that. The entire school has welcomed DS and I really don't think they could have done any more for him.

JustAbout - you have basically just written down my exact thoughts but it in a more eloquent way! I had never seen DS as punishment. Despite DS's numerous issues, I have only ever seen him as my perfect little boy who I should be thankful for. I think DM probably is in shock, and I'm sure she would hate to think she has upset me this much, especially as I'm usually quite tough and let these things wash over me.

For those saying DM is cuckoo, I agree. She recently accused me of having an affair with DS's school teacher! Said teacher is male and in his mid-20s so I must be having an affair with him, right? I initially burst out laughing until I realised she wasn't joking.

Dulida Sun 18-Nov-12 09:31:16

Thanks Moondog. That's a really good idea. When I was having problems accepting things I wrote a letter to DH explaining exactly how I was feeling about DS. It led to a very long evening, where we sat down with a bottle of wine, said exactly how we were feeling, good and bad, and had a good cry. The next day we felt loads better, had a lovely family day out and felt like we were having a fresh start. For some reason, I hadn't thought about doing the same with DM. Thanks.

signandsmile Sun 18-Nov-12 09:37:16

Hi Dulida, smile another one here with an active faith and a ds (and dh) with SN / disabilities...

there are some fab faith groups out there, (and not ones who see my ds either as 'punishment', or a 'lesson for us'. Your dc, like mine, is a person loved by God in his own right, just as he is. the church is supposed to be the family of God, with all cultures, backgrounds, ages and abiltities, I feel our church needs ds and his 'viewpoint' grin in order to be complete...

PS Have you heard of 'through the roof'? (sorry don't know website, but they are googleable... IYSWIM. grin they do a fab faithbased holiday for families with kids with ASD, ds and I went last year and it was amazing...

PPS Bee did you know you can get veggietales on DVD?

thewhistler Sun 18-Nov-12 09:37:37

Agree with just ( and how nice to see someone quoting Daddy Long-Legs).

I found myself grieving for what might have been, and that is quite usual.

But it has nothing to do with merit or otherwise.

She really is cuckoo.

justaboutchilledout Sun 18-Nov-12 09:39:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 18-Nov-12 09:59:16

Comments like this belong in medieval times, not 2012.

bochead Sun 18-Nov-12 10:28:47

I'm from a faith background (Uncles who are priests/pastors etc and a Mum who spends her spare time translating the bible from the ancient Hebrew & Greek). Who are we to question the Lord's design? Do we not think that we have NEEDED individuals whose brains work slightly differently at various times through mankinds long history to survive and thrive all over the globe in a variety of climates, environments and circumstances?

I think your mother needs to reminded of one of my Gran's favourite sayings "It's one thing to suspect someone is a fool, it's another to open your mouth and PROVE it to the world".

I think in your shoes I'd have to let her know how hurtful she's been and that I'd be cutting contact for a while in order to allow myself time to heal.

ChristmasTreegles Sun 18-Nov-12 10:42:20

A couple things to point out..

1. There is a phrase often used by MNer's (actually there's TWO - the fuckety fuck one is one of them grin)... simply say to her "Did you MEAN to be that rude?" And wait..... see what she says.... (although to be fair, if it get to that, you can always use the fuckety fuck comment if need be grin)

2. Sadly, like many of us, it most likely means that you will need to filter what you say to her. Don't hand her emotional ammunition. Do not give her the opportunity to feed on your fears and stress you out. It's something that's quite difficult for me, but I'm slowly getting better at it. I have a sister that NEVER gets any emotional ammo from me... she tends to lob it back at me with a hand grenade attached. hmm

Things happen. You can twist yourself inside out trying to find a reason, or you can accept it, make the best of it, and move on in life. Because I had emergency surgery in the beginning of my pregnancy with DS2 (I didn't yet know I was pregnant with him), I was given medications as well that are not supposed to be taken during pregnancy. As soon as I realised I was pregnant, I stopped the meds. But I've wondered if the surgery and/or the meds caused his problems. Did I feel guilty? Yes, of course - even though I know I had to have the surgery (appendix out) - didn't really have a choice. But still, the guilt was there. I've learned to put it aside. It doesn't change anything, and to be honest, I have other things more pressing to worry about. But it was difficult initially to get past that.

Your mum was unkind and cruel to even suggest it, although much as I love my parents, I could easily see them saying it (actually my mother said something remarkably similar when we told her about DS2's SNs).

Lougle Sun 18-Nov-12 13:10:04

Another here with an active faith, who thinks your Mum is misguided.

2old2beamum Sun 18-Nov-12 13:22:38

I am an atheist and would never ever even think anything like that let alone say it. Personally and BTW none of my buisness I think you have made the right decision not to have more children Your DH needs a wife and your DS
needs a mum.
Remarks made by your Mum are cruel and make me very angry Goodluck to you and your family

stillsmarting Sun 18-Nov-12 13:31:58

BeeMum we quote that line from Veggietales a lot.

Badvocsanta Sun 18-Nov-12 14:26:22

I am a practising Christian and am appalled by your mums words.
I am so sorry.
You must be very hurt.
I thank God daily for my ds1 - quirks and all smile

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Nov-12 14:49:17

When you have your first child, there are all these health checks and scans that lead you into false sense of security and a belief that it is almost a right to have a NT child.

When it turns out differently it is a shock and a slight on those 'rights'. When people are denied their rights in our culture it is usually as a punishment for a crime.

We also like to believe in this country that good fortune is awarded for hard work and good morals. <see recent benefit bashing threads and various Daily Mail articles>

In truth having a child with a disability has sod all to do with being punished, or being an angel sent from God or other nonsense. It is just the way it is. You can use your faith to help you cope with it and to consider the way you deal with other people's comments about it. No God of mine would punish a small child for MY sins.

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