When I was pregnant with Rogan, I was working 12-hour weekend nights as a charge nurse on an OB floor. I did this so that I would be able to stay home during the week with my daughter and my then-husband would stay home on the weekends. There were many a night where, looking for something to do or just anxious to take a peek at the miracle within me, I would pull out the ultrasound and scan my own belly. It amazed me to see that little creature and it always brought a little bit of joy to be able to connect with him by seeing him "face-to-face." Fast forward about 5 years later to the autism diagnosis in 2006. I immersed myself into "information-seeking" mode. As my head swam and as emotions flooded me, I came across information like this , related to frequent ultrasound in pregnancy contributing to autism.
My heart sank even deeper than I thought possible. That information, combined with other environmental factors like getting several vaccines and receiving amalgam fillings when I was pregnant...made me realize that, even as a "medical professional" (or maybe because of...), I basically knew nothing about the causes or potentiating contributors of autism.
Here's the thing: They don't teach us about that in nursing school. Medical doctors don't learn about it in medical school or in their residency programs. The fact of the matter is, we're "taught" to think that people who believe in the harm that environmental factors can cause are quacks. We're "taught" to never doubt the benefits of vaccines and diagnostic medicine. We're "taught" to not ask questions and to just follow the rules. We're "taught" that most of the time, there really isn't shit we can do to prevent a condition or disease (other than vaccines, of course) and that most of the time, we are victims of genetics.
It has been every day experience and powerful connections with powerful parents that have taught me otherwise.
Do I wake up every day and pour over my sins as a pregnant, unknowing mother? Quite frankly, who's got time for that and what good would it do?? I prefer - most days anyway, because I am far from perfect - to embrace my son for the amazing kid that he is and for all that he has to offer.
I prefer to learn from my mistakes and move forward.
And I prefer to help others NOT make the same mistakes.