Unraveling the Plan; Redefining Normal

Today, I want to have a heart-to-heart about something that's been on my mind lately: the unpredictability of life on this autism parenting journey.

Let's rewind a bit. If you had asked me years ago what my life would look like today, I guarantee it wouldn't match the reality I'm living. Like many of you, I had a plan. I had dreams, aspirations, and a vision of how things would unfold. But life had other plans, and autism entered our world.

When I reflect on my journey as a parent, I'm reminded of just how different life turned out compared to what I once envisioned. The truth is, I never planned for this. I never imagined navigating the complexities of autism, advocating tirelessly, and facing the daily challenges that come with it.

In the beginning, fear gripped me tightly. I was scared of the unknown, uncertain about the future, filled with more questions than answers. and overwhelmed by the sheer weight of responsibility that came with raising a child with unique needs. The dreams I had for my child and our family seemed to vanish before my eyes, leaving me feeling lost and unsure of how we were going to move forward.

I won't sugarcoat it - the road has been anything but easy. There have been tears shed, sleepless nights, and moments of doubt when I questioned whether I was equipped to handle the challenges that lay ahead.

But amidst the chaos and uncertainty, something remarkable happened.  I discovered strength within myself that I never knew existed. I learned to celebrate every milestone, no matter how small, and to find joy in the simplest of moments.

Yes, life took a detour I never anticipated, but looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. As Jordan grew, so did my understanding of autism and its many intricacies. I immersed myself in research, connected with other parents walking similar paths, and sought out resources to support both Jordan and me on this journey.

If you had told me years ago that I would be leading a community of incredible mothers navigating the unique challenges of raising children on the autism spectrum, I would have never believed you. Yet here I am, the founder of Not Your Average Autism Mom, pouring my heart out to each and every one of you.  I find myself among a village of incredible women who have become an integral part of my life– families like ours who normalize this journey, who understand the struggles and celebrate the victories alongside me.

Autism has taught me the true meaning of resilience, patience, and unconditional love. It has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, to embrace the unknown, and to find joy in the most unexpected places. You see, autism has a way of bringing people together in ways we never could have imagined.

Yes, our lives may not be what we planned or expected. But now, I can't imagine it being any other way.  The truth is none of us know how our lives will unfold. Tomorrow isn't promised to any of us, regardless of whether autism is part of our story or not. But I've come to realize it's not about the plan we had; it's about embracing the journey – the highs and lows and finding blessings in the most unexpected places.

So, to all the moms out there navigating this unique parenting journey, I want you to know that you are not alone. Embrace the unplanned, celebrate the unexpected, and cherish every moment – for it is in life's uncertainties that we often find our greatest blessings.

You've got this, and I'm here cheering you on every step of the way.

This was written by Shannon Urquiola, Not Your Average Autism Mom

Shannon shares her lived experiences in hopes of creating a more inclusive world for our children and adults on the spectrum. 

Our mission is to equip families with resources, training, coaching, and community support. We believe if you are willing to expose yourself, your child, and your family to the world with kindness and honesty that compassion and understanding will follow.

She presents to organizations and businesses in person and virtually.

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