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How I Gave My Son Autism

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I should start by saying that I was raised Catholic. The concepts of reconciliation and absolution are completely ingrained in me. I grew up going to confession at a beautiful monastery where Father Francis, an elderly monk, held my hand as we walked the grounds, and I asked for forgiveness for my transgressions. I always felt great relief and unconditional love after our time together.  Unfortunately, Father Francis passed away years ago, and I haven't been to confession since. My spiritual beliefs have evolved and changed over the years, but the idea of forgiveness is still critical to how I walk through life. There are things I have done for which I know God forgives me. However, I'm pretty sure that I will never forgive myself, for my transgressions are embodied in a beautiful seven-year-old who tells me daily that I am "the best Mom in the universe." I know the truth. And someday, so will he. All of these "unforgivable" actions were done with the best of intentions, but we all know what they say about "good intentions" and "the road to hell." I am admitting here for all the world to see: I gave my son Autism. I did it. Me. And no one can ever take that away.

So how did I give my son autism? I wish I could say it was one thing-one thing that I could take back that would make things neat and easy, but it wasn't. It was mistake after mistake, assault after assault. The following are the biggest mistakes I made to which I attribute my son's descent into autism. I'm going to provide links that are easily readable and understandable that contain links to the research rather than providing links to the research itself. A simple Google search about any one of these topics will provide more information than you could ever want. Here goes . . .

1) Ultrasounds: I had at least five while I was pregnant. I was assured that they were completely safe. Heck, you can get them in malls, so I assumed they were pretty benign. Wrong! While I didn't get ultrasounds in malls, I didn't research them either. Ultrasounds have, in fact, been implicated in autism among other neurological disorders. While there is no definitive "causal link," enough has been found to warrant further research and precautionary measures.  According to this article, "Research shows populations exposed to ultrasound have a quadrupled perinatal death rate, increased rates of brain damage, nerve cell demylienation, dyslexia, speech delays, epilepsy and learning difficulty."  Sound familiar?

2) High-fructose corn syrup: I drank Coca Cola every single day while I was pregnant. I was so incredibly nauseous and it made my stomach feel better. Fast forward a few years and Coca Cola Classic was found to have one of the highest levels of mercury due to HFCS of any product tested. I didn't eat one bite of fish during my pregnancy for fear of mercury. While I didn't know there was mercury in the Coke, I have to be honest and admit that of course I knew that eating and drinking junk wasn't good for my baby.    


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