Far too many moms have asked me why their husbands might be in denial or worse yet, cold and distant to their child. Once they got the autism diagnosis, everything changed.
Many fathers struggle with it. It’s not just fathers though but mostly fathers it seems. And I think there are many reasons, denial being the most obvious but I think it’s more than that.
For most moms, when a child is born, they envision a bright and beautiful future for that child but it’s pretty abstract. Go anywhere, do anything.
For most fathers though, it’s usually much more specific. Like doing things with their child that they had done with their own fathers, or teaching the child how to do things that they love to do or having their child follow in their footsteps or even more so, to exceed those footsteps and be a much better person than they were.
And with an autism diagnosis, all of that is destroyed and it feels like it has been ripped away from you.
For moms, because their vision is so abstract, it doesn’t feel so devastating to lose. For many, it never even feels lost, just… it’s going to be different.
But many dads have a very hard time coping with that. Not many people like having their dreams ripped away from them and even less so to have their dreams for their children taken.
That can make a man distant and even seem cold. They sort of give up.
I’m not saying this is true for every father. As I said, there’s a lot that goes on in a person’s head when their child is diagnosed with autism or anything really.
But, if this is the case, or even just denial, then it may just take time to accept that, even though his dreams may be gone (they may still not be actually, who knows?), there’s still room and time for new dreams. A child is a child and even if the future seems less certain now, it still filled with unlimited potential.
If it’s your husband or anyone else you know that seems to be struggling with this feeling, all I can suggest is time, patience and perhaps a gentle reminder:
There’s still so much life left to live where anything can happen.
It would be a shame to miss what will happen because you’re too busy focused on what won’t happen.