It Took Having Another Child To Realize My Son Has Autism

Autistic boy lining up cars to achieve order in his world.

When my son was born, he didn’t cry.

It was my first pregnancy. I imagined our child magically emerging, screaming. That’s not what happened. It was quiet. Too quiet. He needed help to start breathing, but even when he could breathe on his own, he still didn’t cry. My husband walked toward him and asked the NICU team if he was okay, over and over. “Come over here,” someone said. “He’s turning his head toward your voice.”

I was barely conscious and don’t remember much. When I woke up, I saw him properly for the first time. I could barely move, and his head was misshapen and wounded. We just stared at each other. Not in a fuzzy-edged picturesque way. More like in a “what the heck was all that about” sort of way. He was observant and serious, all seven pounds and raised eyebrows. It wasn’t at all what I expected. The plan had completely changed.

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