The other day a comment was made on one of my Facebook status updates. I had discussed the fact that we are weening Debbie off of Tenex, and slowly transitioning her to Abilify. The commenter took it upon herself to say, “What is it with you Americans always drugging your children? GOD!” I was taken aback by the boldness of this statement. This was not someone who followed or commented on my page regularly. So naturally, I was annoyed that some stranger, who lives across the Atlantic, had decided to pass judgment on a parental decision that my husband and I had made regarding Debbie’s life.
Here’s the thing, though. Debbie is on a whole lot of drugs. She takes meds to sleep. If we don’t give her the nightly dose of Trazadone, she will not sleep. She takes meds so she can use the bathroom easily. If we don’t give her her daily dose of fiber and stool softener, she will become backed-up and uncomfortable, and she will have accidents. She takes meds to balance out her moods. Without her daily dose of Tenex/Abilify, she will continue to have meltdowns, physical aggression that damages property, and she will cause harm to herself and others. And finally, in the coming weeks, she will be taking meds to manage her menstrual cycle. If we do not put her on The Pill, she will continue to get her period every two weeks. In a nutshell, medicine rules the quality of Debbie’s life. And believe me, if I had a magic pill that would relieve her of Autism, I would would give it to her in a heartbeat. (Cue boos and hisses…)
As a mom, I have a responsibility to both of my children. My job is to make sure they are safe, they are happy, and that they are loved. I am not thrilled that Debbie is on all of the aforementioned medications. No rational parent wants his or her child to have a better life through chemistry. As a mom of a daughter, though, who not only has Autism, but who had Cancer too, I am happy with our decision to use medicine. When Deb had Cancer, we allowed the doctors to treat her with chemotherapy and radiation. These drugs eradicated the Cancer. Debbie takes a variety of drugs to help her sleep, poop, and feel less edgy each and every day. I can’t cure her Autism. However, what I can do, and what I am doing, is make her life easier and better.
So, Dear Commenter, thank you so much for pointing out what I am doing, and what I am sure many other moms are doing. We are doing our job, and we are doing it well. Our children are safer, happier, and for sure, they are loved to the moon and back!